Unlike Eddie and many of you, I am not a cradle Methodist. I was not born into the Methodist Church; I chose the United Methodist Church. The main reason I chose the Methodist Church is because of John Wesley’s emphasis on grace and community. And while I have been faithful and loyal to the Methodist Church, I had forgotten how much I love the Church.
I admit there are times when I am not very “connectional.” I don’t attend many of the District preacher meetings or conference gatherings. And I admit that sitting through the sessions of Annual Conference is like experiencing the proverbial Chinese water torture. But this week I read the news coming out of General Conference*; as I watched and listened to the proceedings from Portland, I was reminded how much I love the United Methodist Church.
I guess that is how it is sometimes. It is easy to take someone or something you love for granted until you realize that you might lose that person or thing. This week, over issues that I won’t delve into here, the reality that this Church that I love might not exist as I have known her. And when I realized this, my heart broke and a sadness filled my soul.
I will continue to follow the events of General Conference. I will continue to do so for the Bishops and delegates. And as I do, my heart will be looking forward to this Sunday. You see, this Sunday as we gather in our Chapel, Fellowship Hall and Sanctuary, I will be reminded that General Conference is not the Church. This Sunday, I might get a bit more emotional because I am grateful that I serve a church that is so different than General Conference. I might hug a little bit more (I hope you don’t mind) because I will feel the life and joy that fills our building each and every time we gather. And I just might sing a little louder as I celebrate that you and I are the Body of Christ, together we are the Church!
May we all hear the words of John Wesley echo in our hearts, minds and souls: “Though we may not think alike, may we all love alike.”
*For those of you don’t know, General Conference is the the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church and meets every four years. General Conference is meeting in Portland, Oregon from May 10th thru 20th. The Conference can revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs.