The Morning After
September 6, 2018
Along with many of you, I have prayerfully read the whole document, “The Commission on a Way Forward’s Report to the General Conference.” You can download it on the conference website. Along with you, I continue to pray for the Church Universal and especially for The United Methodist Church. I pray for fruitfulness and faithfulness. I pray for unity and for the growth of God’s Kingdom and for the expansion of God’s mission throughout the world.
Along with you, I acknowledge anxiety of the unknown. There is much that is unknown and much that stirs up worry and fretting. What will happen at the Special Session of General Conference in February, 2019? How will it affect the world? How will it affect our conference? How will it affect my call, my ministry? I am tempted to think only of the consequences that will affect me directly. I am tempted to put plans for ministry on hold and to “wait and see.”
What I do know is that God’s mission for the church will not change or go away –no matter what happens in February. Jesus’ words to his disciples, and thus, to the church, are to go into the whole world making disciples, baptizing, and teaching. What I do know is that the mission of the church will not change.
Don’t misunderstand me. What happens in February, 2019, is very important. The conversations and prayers that we all engage in leading up to the Special Session are extremely important and worthy of our time and attention. But, there will be a morning after.
On February 27, 2019, the morning after the Special Session of General Conference, there will be, in our midst, people who need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It will be a Wednesday, and many churches will be preparing for a community meal, for a Bible study, and for programs for youth and children. Choirs will be rehearsing anthems. Preachers will be preparing sermons. There will be mourning families who will seek the comfort found in the Gospel and in God’s family. There will be youth and young adults excited about using their world-changing gifts for the sake of others. On the morning after the Special Session of General Conference, hungry people will need company and bread, a child will need her reading buddy, a homebound person will need a hand to hold, and a young mother will need a job.
Church, this is not a time to wait and see, nor to put things on hold. This is a time, more than ever, to go and do, to give and serve, to lift up and encourage, to pray and study earnestly, and to love and live faithfully.