This is an interesting season for our congregation and our nation. Some would say we are at a crossroads. United Methodism is a connectional system and as such our local congregation is confronted with the reality of change. Our nation is also a republic with a democratic connection. As such this country is also in the throes of challenge and change. Finally, the United Methodist denomination is bracing for a major systemic transformation. It is scary and full of potential. It really is an exciting time to experience the newness that will emerge from this chrysalis of waiting.
First my take on the change of pastoral leadership in our Church; God is at work. God has led Lydia into a new season in her own development and family life. Now God will lead the St Mark’s congregation forward with grace into new opportunities. Times of change are times when we can stretch and learn. Our Bishop and Bishop’s Cabinet will guide us into a new Pastoral relationship but we as the congregation have to make the marriage work. I am optimistic that this will allow us to grow and bear lasting fruit in God’s garden.
Second our national turmoil… Ours is a Christian nation only symbolically and as a historical dream. In actuality our nation is founded on principles of respect and mutual trust. We are not as divided as the political parties would have us believe we are. At the bedrock we are still united with the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches still stretching to shape the future of our democratic process. We also have a wellspring of personal and societal integrity and responsibility. Above party or creed we are finally dedicated to serving our neighbor and relying on public servants to serve the greater good. Though flawed ours is still a great nation.
Last our Denominational transformation:
I suspect names will change. Church polity will realign to allow for both conservatism and progressive values; but the work of God’s realm will happen in our own families, neighborhoods and congregations. God is not limited by either our history or our illusory sense of control.
So Sunday when I preach I will call us to choose wisely in this season of grief and opportunity. Choose life. Embrace life. Celebrate life and watch life happen around and in us. God isn’t finished with us yet.
Peace and joy,