I began doing a little picking up around my office and found a book that must have been my grandfather’s. Its title was interesting: Which Road Shall We Take? The discussion focused on an issue in the Methodist Episcopal Church regarding its structure in relation to growing international missionary churches. Essentially the question was, Could or should these international churches be part of the Methodist Episcopal Church?
I was fascinated that this discussion began some 95 years ago and is still part of our denomination’s conversations today. In the last few General Conference sessions there have been deep discussions about the denomination as an international body and not a United States-centric one. These discussions also continue as our Bishops meet to consider “A Way Forward” in regards to our deep divisions in the denomination regarding homosexuality and the church. Regional and international differences in culture and law affect how we discuss our faith with one another. How we decide to be in relationship with one another while we might disagree will inform how the denomination will move forward.
Of course, relationships are the thing. Our ability to choose is formed in our relationship with Jesus Christ and our understanding of God’s grace. Grace that puts us in a right relationship with God. Grace that transforms our lives as we grow in our understanding of that love. Grace that changes our relationships with neighbors, friends and family.
Could the way forward include a variety of opinions and preferences? Could we become grace-filled and compassionate before making judgments? Ministry will happen whatever way forward the denomination chooses. The church will love and the church will make mistakes and the church will be the primary center for us to grow in our understanding of God’s redeeming love. May our choices show a deep understanding of God’s grace.
Peace & Grace,