Dear Kin through Christ,

Recently, I was standing in line at a local business, when a conversation ensued between myself and another person, whose shirt had the following statement…“God’s Got Me.”

“God’s Got Me” probably has many meanings, so I’ll just leave that alone for now.

Bishop Bob shared at our most recent time of Holy Conferencing that we should be prepared to share our elevator speech of faith with those whom God places in front of us…or in line with us.

As sisters and brothers of the Desert Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church, we have hope-filled words to share…

We are a Courageous church…
Loving like Jesus…
Acting for justice…
United in hope.

It’s not a message we necessarily will wear on a shirt (although it looks good on a window cling decal) but will sprout from the deep soil of grace and love that God continues to turn over and over in the gardens of our soul.

Please receive the following words from Doris Donnelly…
From the scriptures we get a glimpse of reconciliation far more profound than patching up differences, or making a private peace with what’s wrong with the world, or putting a bandage over hurts inflicted in the course of living. Paul, for one, had something else in mind. Reconciliation for Paul begins ‘within,’ when we hear (and believe) God’s words of acceptance and mercy. That realignment of the heart spills across all of our relationships, closing the gaps that distance us. Eventually, those who minister reconciliation, as well as those affected by it, create the world heralded by the angels at the birth of Jesus where peace and goodwill prevail. It is a place where lions and lambs live together and children play with poisonous snakes (Isa. 11:6, 8). It is a place, still a-borning, where the peace that surpasses human understanding becomes normative. And it is a place where war and violence are the stuff of fiction and make-believe. When Paul passes the mantle of ambassadorial rank to each of us, we may surmise two things: First, that God’s intention for the world is unity, and second, that the mission to gather the world as one that was begun by Jesus was left incomplete by him. That mission was delegated to the community of believers gathered in his name. Each of us is an ambassador in the service of a leader who deputizes us to spread news of peace, restoration, and collaboration to a world sorely in need of this news. There are few things about which God is more persistent than this—that each of us engage in this ministry of reconciliation and bring it to completion. It is nothing less than our meaning, our historical destiny, and our corporate identity.” — taken from “Ambassadors of Reconciliation,” Weavings

Where are the holy spaces that we walk in which God is “still a-borning” peace, restoration, and collaboration?

How are we hearing the startling, and at times jarring, voice of God speaking to lift us out of complacent religiosity?

What names are placed on our hearts by God that prick our conscience and remind us of our call to “close the gaps” that distance us as children of God?

Thank you all for your good and faith-filled ministry in the name of Jesus the Christ. Your work, effort, energy, and witness are appreciated…more than you can imagine.

God’s grace and peace to you, my friends.
Neil Leftwich Signature

 

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