We know that all things work together for good
for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
– Romans 8: 28
Why is this biblical truth so hard to remember? As I watched the Livestream of the United Methodist General Conference last week, I had a very hard time remembering. I had a hard time seeing how anything good could come out of the proceedings. But, the dust has begun to settle—just a little—and after some reflection, I can see God’s dusty fingerprints and footprints all over the place. In our community:
- People gathered at several town hall meetings to understand what was happening in our denomination—hundreds of people! That is a sign of the love, care and concern we all have for our church!
- People in Sunday school classes and small groups are talking about the action taken by the conference. Some are relieved and pleased. Some are heartbroken. But, people are talking—hopefully asking each other questions and listening to each other’s answers—sharing life stories—faith stories. And, hopefully, the conversations are steeped in compassion and love.
- People are reflecting individually—asking themselves questions and seeking answers. How open am I to people who are different from me? How open am I to having conversation with persons who disagree with me? What beliefs and convictions were handed to me and from whom?
- People are wrestling with the Bible. What does the Bible say? How do I go about interpreting what the Bible says? Who are the people I depend on to help me understand what the Bible says?
- People are learning more about how United Methodist Church polity functions. What is a General Conference and who are our delegates? What is the Judicial Council and who are the members?
Things are still chaotic in our denomination—everything is still up in the air. But, I will do what I’ve been asked to do. I will use the Lenten season to reflect, pray and discern God’s will—for my church, for my siblings in Christ and for myself. In the midst of it all, despite my fear of what’s coming—God is with us, doing what God always does—creating something new out of the settled dust.