At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry John the Baptist insulted the religious people who had come to the Jordan River for baptism and asked them, “Who told you to flee from the wrath to come?” John Wesley referred to this passage when he set the only requirement for someone to join a small weekly prayer and support group; a desire to “flee from the wrath to come.”
Keeping focus on the wrath to come was a compelling motivation for the kinds of life changing experiences early Methodists had. Wesley’s fear of eternal condemnation was the crisis of faith that led to his heart-warming conversion. Today in the midst of political polarization, violence, environmental threats to life, a pandemic and uncharitable comments on social media there is no need to fear the future. The wrath is all around us, right now.
We know the wrath from experience: the name calling, the judgement, not fitting in, feelings of shame, isolation, addiction, poverty, blame, condemnation, fear and death all fuel fear and set off the flight, fight or freeze responses of all creatures.
The Christian story, when told rightly, is about the Holy Trinity leading us out of wrath, and guiding the people of God to create safe harbors of hospitality, compassion, kindness, healing, strength, abundance and hope. Just as we experience the wrath in the present time, so it is possible to experience shalom here and now. This website is dedicated to pointing the way and gathering as many as wish to flee the wrath to join together in the work of God in creating safe harbors of shalom.
If you wish to flee from the wrath, or just rest a while, welcome! You can be spiritual not religious, or active in a congregation. You can be of any faith or no faith. Come as you are. Come out of the storm. Come in and hear some good news, sing, pray, worship the Source of Life with your body, mind and soul and learn to truly love your neighbor and yourself.
There is a way to move from wrath to shalom, building a community of courage, creativity and compassion which becomes a safe harbor for all. Let us travel this way together with Jesus.
Sarah Mount Elewononi is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. A member of the New England Annual Conference for over 20 years, Sarah now resides with her family in greater Pittsburgh. Sarah completed the requirements for her doctorate from Boston University on Christmas Eve 2014. She worked with Dr. Karen Westerfield Tucker and Dr. Nancy Ammerman to better understand worship and change - both how repeated acts of worship change us, and how and why worship changes whether we want it too or not, and why we can be resistant to that change. Her dissertation was focused on Methodist worship at New England camp meetings in the 19th Century. Sarah is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy, the Order of St. Luke and the Girl Scouts. Currently she leads her daughters' Brownie and Daisy troop and teaches preschool three afternoons a week. She also teaches a variety of United Methodist Course of Study offerings in worship, theology and Biblical studies.