By Rev. Kay C. Barckley
May 25, 2016
From numerous vantage points, the impressive glass spires of the Oregon Convention Center appear to rise unattached into the sky – neither grounded to the earth, nor connected with each other, and between them a wide chasm looms large. In a blog post written by a member of another Annual Conference, during General Conference, an image of the glass spires was used as a metaphor for the perceived two camps within the United Methodist Church, each with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
When we view the Oregon Convention Center and General Conference from the spires vantage, so much is hidden from our view.
Early in the first week of General Conference, there were several days when my contact lenses were not happy on my eyes. One day, after removing my contacts in the restroom, I walked down the hall on my return to the legislative committee sans contacts and glasses ─ my vision so blurry that those I passed were unrecognizable, except for the outline of their body and the color of their clothing. On this relatively short journey, my reflections turned to a wondering and confession ─ what beloved-ness, what story am I failing to see in my sisters and brothers, because my lens, the eyes of my heart, are blurred; blurred by preconceived assumptions, blurred by past experiences, blurred by my hopes and fears? Lord have mercy – may the eyes of my heart be enlightened.
Standing at the threshold of the Convention Center with the eyes of my heart enlightened, the vantage point of the two spires disappears; what was hidden is now revealed ─ in the interconnectedness of pathways of United Methodists sharing stories, transforming barriers into bridges, celebrating the saving grace of Jesus Christ in the world active in ministry and mission, seeking justice and peace and glimpsing hope. I am called and choose to stand at this threshold ─ holding this sacred vantage of hope for a future yet unknown where God’s shalom is birthed anew within our church and the world; while at the same time prayerfully holding the two spires vantage, where pain and exclusion, division and schism live among us.
With the light of Christ shining in the darkened places of our hearts, our church and the world, may the Spirit of our Living God shine, swirl and blow, creating bridges where once were barriers and enlightening our path of mercy, love, justice and peace.
Rev. Kay Barckley, a Deacon in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, serves among the faithful community of University Temple UMC in Seattle, as Coordinator of Worship Design. She serves as the chair of the PNW Order of Deacons, chair of the Seattle District Committee on Ministry, and as a reserve delegate to General Conference.