It’s a good, good season
August 21, 2023 / By Daniel J. Bradley, Pastor at Faith Journey UMC
“Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness”.
Psalm 34:8-9 (The Message Translation)
There is much to be said for living in Central New York. It is the only place I am sure that we are guaranteed four seasons. As for right now, it is the middle of summer. Through the mass amounts of rain that we have had this summer—the sunshine and warmth have done wonders for my soul. It’s a good, good season.
The Christian and the Church go through seasons of change and upheaval. There is no escaping it. As long as we are sinful human beings, we will always be called closer to God for God’s intervention. I must admit that I was somewhat melancholic at the Upper New York Annual Conference session this past June. The disaffiliation votes felt like defeat. It was as if we lost something that wasn’t ours, to begin with.
The Church is God’s idea, not ours. We are God’s instruments that guide and lead the Church, but in the end, it’s all about people. As Christians and the Church, we make a lot of decisions based on fear. We look at a decline in membership, checkbooks that are shrinking, and theological infighting. We look at the worst of people and hold them in contempt as if we were judges, jury, and executioners. We go off in our own direction and ask God to bless our paths as if we have won the battle.
I am not interested in fighting a theological war of words and actions that cannot be underpinned with love.
I long for an end to the brokenness, strife, and pain. I long for a renewed sense of call and purpose to blow through the doors of the United Methodist Church. I long for people to come together as brothers and sisters in Jesus first before they identify as United Methodist or Global Methodist. I long for relationships to be mended and molded in the imago-dei that God might be glorified in action, word, and deed.
Whatever side of the great divide you fall on—know this: God loves you with all that God has and God will continue to pour out God’s grace like the rain this summer and the warmth of the sun. It’s a good, good, season.
This life—this time is not about our rights to justice. It’s about God calling us to be humble and holy. As God told Moses, “Take off your sandals for you are standing on holy ground.”
The great Hymn of the faith reminds us:
“The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord. She is his consummation through water and the world. From heaven he came and sought to be his holy bride and for her love he bought and for that life, he died.”
It’s not about you, it’s not about me. It’s all about God and what God is doing in this thing called the CHURCH of Jesus Christ. Drop the rock, love those you despise, and offer grace when it is not offered to you. Show Jesus in all that you do and speak.
That’s the only thing that matters right now is humility and holiness and I pray that in this good, good, season we might see the glory of God and the resurrected Jesus.