Matthew 22:35-40, Romans 12, John 8:1-12
With much debate and heated discussion at General Conference in 2019, the Traditional plan passed. Therefore the language in the Book of Discipline as it currently stands will continue to be the statement of belief and polity of The United Methodist Church. There will also be stricter accountability for those who defy or break the rules therein the Book of Discipline. However, I am sure that conversations on what that means for the various local churches will continue, especially until the next General Conference, which is likely to be held in 2021. Many people feel hurt, many others relieved. Many people feel tired, many of us are just tired of the never ending debate. Many people feel that we still need more discussion, or maybe to hear from diverse or younger voices. Through prayer this is my statement:
I will still be preaching Holiness. From when I first heard the word while I was in seminary, I fell in love with the theology and belief from a Wesleyan perspective. John Wesley taught that there are two ways to practice Holiness, in personal or spiritual life as well as socially. Personal Holiness is our commitment to loving God completely with all that we are and all that we have. This means, respecting God, God’s laws, precepts and commands. This means accepting the gift of grace and discernment through the work of Christ and as guided by the Holy Spirit. Social Holiness is living out holiness by loving and caring for the poor, the outcast and those in need spiritually, physically, and mentality. As we love God, our love of others grow. As we love others our sense of purpose grows and we love ourselves. The more we love the one God created, the more we love God, and on and on the love grows.
I will still be preaching Transformation and Redemption. We are all sinners and in need of God’s grace. We have broken God’s laws, we all have. But as we seek Christian Perfection as John Wesley taught, we ask that our sins be revealed to us and then ask for all of our sins to be forgiven. God is the only one who can transform us, renew us, and give us redemption through the acts of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. God is three in one. As true followers of Christ, we “Go, and sin no more.” If we have been transformed by God, then we have the renewing of our minds.
I will still be preaching “Love your Neighbors”. The second part of the Greatest Commandment is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. This is second to loving God will all that you are. Not everyone thinks the same, not everyone looks same, and not everyone acts the same. We are to love each other regardless. Everyone is a creation of God and someone whom God loves. I love hearing diverse voices praise God. Nothing excites me more than seeing someone, anyone, praying to God for deliverance and seeking God’s will for their lives. I seek out people of different perspectives for I believe that we can all learn from each other. Relationships are built by showing love and respect.
I will still be preaching! This is what God has called me to do, share the Good News, teach the Bible and encourage others to do the same. I am called to show love to everyone in need and to lead others in doing the same. God always has shown me where I need to be, and has made a way for me to do His will, even if at times it has been hard.
Christ UMC will still be a church that seeks to live into Christian Perfection. We should never stop praying. We should always be willing and able to recognize sin in our own lives and ask for forgiveness. We also should seek to loving help each other recognize sin and live in harmony with God’s Holy Scriptures.
Christ UMC will still be a church that wants everyone to experience God’s Transforming Grace. We should always be willing to first show love; showing love to others is an act of grace. We should teach everyone with our actions and then by our words about our Savior. We should be able and willing to tell anyone about God’s goodness and what God has done for us.
Christ UMC will still be a church that welcomes all who are weary, seeking God and in need of love and support. No one will be shut out. A church is for those who are sinners in need of grace, love and support. We know that a life without the love of God is a hard life, we all have been there. We are a family and we support each other. We want to grow our family and therefore are excited when anyone comes in through the doors of our building.
Christ UMC will still be a church. We seek God’s will above the will of others. We love God first, with all that we are, and then loves all that God loves. We are not closed minded, our doors to our building are not closed to those who are different than us. Instead, we have our hearts devoted to the love of God and allow God to direct us in our love for others. We seek to love as God loves today, tomorrow and well into the future, just as we always have. This is our tradition, as a church, and as The United Methodist Church.
May God bless us. May the peace of Christ be with all. And may we continue to do God’s will in the power of the Holy Spirit.