JUST THINKING ... A Season of Silence and Prayer
Some of you have been blessed to serve as delegates to General Conference, and we in North Georgia thank you for your service and your willingness to work for the future of the Church of Jesus Christ and our United Methodist family. We prayed for you and for your discernment in all matters that came before the body and for those that stayed in the back rooms and hallways.
Most of us, though, remained in the Atlanta / North Georgia area watching the proceedings via technology or by reading the daily news stories. We waited and prayed with bated breath and a hopeful spirit. We heard the stories, and we heard of the arguments. We may have seen the photos of protests and of tearful bishops. We listened to the interpretations by the news reporters and by friends present or even by friends not present but in the "know" somehow, and we held out breath and looked for hope.
General Conference is over, but the work is just beginning. The work to implement the rules and laws that will guide us over the next four years begins now, as information is disseminated to each of the Annual Conferences. But, before we begin or before we receive the work of our leaders, may I ask for us to do something? This may or may not seem radical to some of you; this may be a no-brainer to others, but, please, as your District Superintendent, allow me this request.
I am asking that we have the next two weeks in the Atlanta Emory District as a season of silence and prayer. Please do not "share" your feelings concerning the General Conference and the actions or non-actions taken. Please do not let social media become our "Bible" to get our thoughts out there before the world. Let us spend these next two weeks in silence, allowing the Holy Spirit to move through all we have seen, heard, and learned. Let God have the first voice in our lives and in our ministries over the next two weeks. At the same time, I call each of you pastors (or laity reading this) to a serious time of prayer. Pray for those who attended General Conference; pray for our Bishops - our spiritual leaders. Pray for those rejoicing, and pray for those hurting. Spend time in prayer that God, by the power of God's Holy Spirit, will reveal to us in Atlanta Emory, in North Georgia, in the United Methodist Church the best next steps. Pray for understanding and for the ability to respond in the power of this scripture to guide you:
30 and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength.[a] 31 The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself.[b] No other commandment is greater than these."
I am only asking for two weeks, until we get to Athens at our own Annual Conference, in order that God might have time to work on our hearts and minds as only God is able.
If you are unable to join me in a season of silence and prayer, please measure your responses in Christian love and concern for the one with whom you are speaking. But, if you are able, please join me and allow the Holy Spirit to do the Spirit's work.
I love the United Methodist Church, and I know you do as well, so please ... two weeks for the sake of this love and for the plans and desires of Jesus Christ?
P.S. In honor of the silence and of Memorial Day, we will not have This & That next week.