It’s the last day of General Conference and there is a mood of celebration, and well…relief. It has been a time where we have gone deep with our emotions; where we have spent long days and nights together; where we have wailed in pain and found hope in love across boundaries; where we have connected with God and God’s people. We have been surprised by the fact that there is something better than “winning” and “losing.” There is the surprise of God’s Spirit creating a new way that encompasses All: All means those we agree with and those we disagree with; those who look like us and those who don’t; those who experience the world similar to us and those who have vastly different ways of being in the world; those who we love easily and those who we hate easily. All means all.
What I know for sure is that it is not easy to be a global church. To be global means we choose to stay in connection even though our worlds are vastly different. It means we live with the tension of discomfort and unknowns. It means we bring honor and kindness before critique and judgement. It means we listen more than we speak. It means we choose love and connection over hate and schism. It is the hardest choice of all. But it is the one that will make the most difference. Imagine if we could show how to love each other by doing good without harm, and staying in love with God. Imagine if that was our witness to the world!
We are trying to be a global church, yet we don’t know how. We don’t know how to navigate the complexities. But we do know, innately and intuitively, how to love. And that’s the core of what we need to know. It is a good starting place. To love. To love. To love.
It looks easy. It is really hard. Yet, it is just the beginning of the path of Christ.
May we love well today, and after we leave here…
Faith, hope, & love,
Rev. Dr. Dottie Escobedo-Frank
South District Superintendent
Desert Southwest Conference
The United Methodist Church