Christianity is the means through which God helps us discover who we are and what we are to live out in our lives. It enables us to see the truth of our creation: we are made in God’s image to relate to God, and reveal the love of God in our relating to other people, who are also created in God’s image. It is about reclaiming our goodness that is too often overshadowed by our sinfulness, and accomplishing this through the redemptive power of grace. We have power, the gift of free will, and we have the means through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to overcome that sinful inclination. Yet, in the hustle and bustle, we turn our attention to worldly matters and secular sights when we are called to bring forth the Kingdom of God and lift up our eyes to the heavens. We find the strength and the will to resist the temptation to be distracted and come undone in our passion for Christ. Our purpose is to manifest his presence complete with love, grace, and truth for all people everywhere. So, in this time of turmoil within so many denominations and the ripple effects of cultural changes hitting us in waves, now more than ever the people of God must keep their purpose in the forefront and stoke the flames of our passion with Godly things.
No matter what the outcome of the Annual Conference I am attending this weekend of the United Methodist Church, my passion for Christ, his Gospel, and my faith cannot be allowed to wither. No obstacle to fulfilling my God-given purpose of ministry and mission in the name of Jesus Christ can be allowed to destroy the love and joy that comes from my passionate embracing of this faith. If each and every one of us committed to stay the course with one another, a covenant of purpose for the glory of God, then no internal strife or external pressure upon the Church could ever waylay us. This is a time to embrace one another tightly, and draw closer, not allowing disagreements to tear us asunder. God brought us together for God’s purposes, and we cannot allow our feelings, wills, and desires to undermine that call. We are the Body of Christ, redeemed by his blood, and given to the world to be a light in the darkness of confusion, sin, and separation from God. We cannot call forth others to draw close to God, if we are willing to hold others at arm’s length. We may not agree on all things, but we must agree one the core of our faith: Christ is Lord, God incarnate, and he has saved us from sin and death. Nothing is more important than that sacred and transformative truth. Let us live that out this day. Let us speak it as if it was the exhalation of the Spirit dwelling within, always proclaiming the Gospel to all with whom we meet. Salvation is God overcoming our separation, and we cannot take backwards steps and allow ourselves to separate the Church. I can feel the stirring of God in my being, commanding me to draw closer. May we all heed that, and show the world and ourselves that love can conquer sin. I am passionately committed to this purpose, and I want nothing more than to stand with others in the name of Christ to live it out.