…and it shall be that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. Acts 2:17-18
Last Sunday the Church celebrated Pentecost: the gift of the Holy Spirit on the community of early followers of Jesus, that allowed them to continue after his death with courage, wisdom and strength to become the early Church. The Spirit manifested in such a way that people of every imaginable cultural, geographic, and social difference were able to hear the Good News of Jesus. With that amazing gift, the ancient prophecy of Joel gained new meaning: the Good News of God needs the witness of all people—young and old, male and female, slave and free, Jew and Gentile. Being a witness to the power and love of God takes all of us—every age, every culture, every faith. Every difference reveals another aspect of God’s Good News.
There were a whole lot of seekers at General Conference this year. Even with the meaningful and beautiful worship it felt a lot like trying to find Jesus in the darkness. Searching for Truth and Life. By the time General Conference was over a lot of us were left mystified. I would guess there wasn’t anyone who could say that it all went the way we wanted or thought it should. We were disappointed, disillusioned, dispirited, and wondered what it all meant for us who love the Church and who look desperately for the Good News that will deliver us from fear, distrust, despair and free the world from the devastating effects of violence and hatred.
As I continue to let the meaning of those two weeks sort itself out in my soul and spirit, I find myself in a new place, especially in light of many of the votes that I deeply disagree with. A learning for the Way: God’s witness to this world, the Good News for this world, needs all of us. I’ve often wished that everyone believed the same way I do. Held the same values. Wanted the same things. That hasn’t happened, and I suspect it won’t. God’s truths are revealed in different ways through each one of us. Even those of “us” we think of as “them.”
As we approach Annual Conference, I find myself wanting to be in more authentic and in honest relationship with the “us’s” and the “them’s.” I’m not looking for agreement; I am looking for God. And for God’s Ways, Truths, and Life in all of us, through all of us, among all of us.
Prayer: Gracious God of all life, be with us all as we prepare to be the Body of Christ at Annual Conference. Help us to see you in each person there, and to love You in Them in ways that lead to Life for each one, and for the world. Amen.
Daily Practice: Take time each day to bring to mind those persons you anticipate seeing at Annual Conference. Whether you hold the same views or not, share the same values or not, believe the same things or not, pray for them to reveal more of God’s Truth and offer more of God’s Love. And pray the same for yourself, as well.
Devotional written by the Rev. Sharon Moe. Moe serves the Tacoma District of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference as District Superintendent and as Dean of the Appointive Cabinet.
Image Credit: “Fire & Ice by Flickr User Universal Pops