I am praying this week.
I am praying for the hearts of United Methodists to be strangely and profoundly warmed.
The notion about living with a strangely warmed heart comes from the experience of John Wesley. Wesley lived for decades as pastor and child of God without a clear sense of his full welcome into God’s embrace.
Through a heart warming experience, Wesley came to know the power of holy wholeness.
That heart warming brought Wesley and the movement now called United Methodism alive.
It has brought me and so many alive, this astounding good news that we are beloved, known, and made one with God’s heart.
United Methodists from around the globe are gathering in St Louis this weekend. They are gathering for a specially called conference. At the conference delegates will engage with each other and with the Holy Spirit to determine the future of the movement sparked by a man who knew what it was to feel doubtful about being fully welcomed into God’s grace.
United Methodists have been wrangling around this issue for decades. Countless hours, resources, passion and energy have been poured into how it is the people of Jesus the Christ are called to discipleship in the company of all.
There are plans being presented, talk of schism being bandied about and hearts feeling exhausted and near broken by the continued insistence on the part of some that GLBTQ children of God are blessed and beloved; well, kind of. Sort of. Not really.
Legions of others are fully exhausted by the continued profanity of exclusion currently articulated in our Discipline. The thought of another “not yet” in regards to living congruency with the gospel is unbearable.
So I am praying.
I am praying for the delegates and the bishops.
I am praying for the children I have baptized. I want them to grow up in a community of faith that welcomes them wildly and gratefully, with all varieties of being celebrated as God gift.
I am praying for the too many who have felt unwelcome by the people of Jesus.
I am praying for colleagues who have been mandated by our current disciple to closet living. My heart cannot go too near the cost of practicing subterfuge around holy relationships.
I am praying for my church: The United Methodist Church and the church I am appointed to serve. Both are full of people who have found welcome and invitation into the good-news-making of Jesus. I love both the larger and my local church. I believe in the power and the promise of the strangely-warmed.
The Holy Spirit is a force for love in this world. This I believe.
This is a pivotal time.
I am praying.
Please join me.