It's just that easy...and just that hard. Nina Strehl on Upslpash
Well friends – especially those United Methodists out there (and you know who you are) – this is the week we have been both anticipating and dreading. The Special Session of General Conference is starting on Saturday in St. Louis. This meeting will determine the future of the UMC in ways we can’t imagine. Unless, of course as a friend noted, “They kick the can down the road and ultimately decide nothing.” Which will be a decision too.
For those of you who have not been keeping up with United Methodist developments of late, hundreds of United Methodists from around the world will be meeting to decide where the church will stand on the issue of LGBTQ inclusion. In four short days, four (or is it up to 24, I can’t keep count) proposals will be discussed, debated, and parliamentary-proceeded ad nauseum. It will, no doubt, be grueling.
Me? I want the church’s doors opened wide, letting more Jesus in rather than figuring who can be kept out. The other day, our Sunday School class was looking at the parable of the Good Samaritan. Who is your neighbor? Well, according to this story – it is the one you least expected it to be. The one who showed compassion and mercy and openness was the one who was also rejected by everyone else. Don't we as a church want to be just like the Good Samaritan? Can we blow people’s minds by our willingness to be compassionate, merciful, and open to all of God’s children?
This week, I’m asking that you pray for the United Methodist Church…even if you don’t identify as United Methodist. Pray for all the people who are voting in St. Louis, that their hearts will be filled with love for all people. Pray for a generosity of spirit. Pray that the Spirit (with a capital “S”) will move in a mighty way. Pray for stamina.
And here’s one more specific prayer request: Pray that the Good Samaritan makes a surprise appearance at General Conference this weekend.
Our world needs more Good Samaritans, not less. We need churches that surprise the world with love. We need to stop looking for love’s loopholes because in God’s realm there aren’t any loopholes to help us avoid God's all-encompassing love.
Yes, let’s pray that the Good Samaritan shows up at General Conference.