I’ve been preaching to my pews this morning. Like I do every week I’ve stood in front of my imaginary congregation and proclaimed what I pray will be a “word of the Lord” this coming Sunday. I am always amazed at what stirs up in me during these times, at the conviction of God’s word in me, at the passion that cause me to pause and take a breath, at the “spirit” that I sense in our sanctuary – a spirit that I know is present always and everywhere.
Then I get back to my daily work. To the e-mails, phone calls, conversations and doings of pastoral life. There is a leak coming into my office, planning for a few meetings tonight, and hopefully a lunch date with my spouse. All of it while the “word of the Lord” is still stirring in me . . .
Like many United Methodist people I have been observing our holy conferencing from afar. I’ve been watching the live stream, twitter feed, and Facebook postings. I’ve not commented yet, I am not sure that I know what to say yet, I am still taken by the mix of the ordinary and extraordinary by the juxtaposition of worship and plenary session.
I love United Methodism. I am thankful that it found me a little over twelve years ago when I needed “good news.” I also struggle with it. I know that much change is needed and that something must happen to help us change our direction.
As I watched the Call to Action presentation last night, as I read the tweets, and the Facebook commentary, I was taken aback, there was reality mixed with hopelessness everywhere. But then worship began; the sounds and sights of the gathered community, the symbols of our life together taking center stage.
Something struck me as I thought about all of this through this morning: to the reality of our decline and of the need for change, and of the desire for something new, there is a response and that response might just be our gathering around the signs and symbols of our faith. A doxological response might just birth the new life that we are so desperately seeking.
It is true that we must do something and I trust that our brothers and sisters in Tampa will tend to the Spirit as they find ways for our church to continue its witness by empowering all who call themselves United Methodist to grow into holiness of heart and life.
I’ll continue “watching from afar” (and praying) as I continue leading the body of United Methodist believers in this part of the connection into the work of God’s kingdom.