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Faith in the face of:

by | Feb 26, 2019 | Not In USe

“I want the whole Christ for my Saviour, the whole Bible for my book, the whole church for my fellowship and the whole world for my mission field.” – John Wesley

Faith is “hedged in hope”, “wrapped around the Mystery that lives in the space between anticipation and resolution”, “refuses to settle for what is because in God all things are possible”, “a vision for a new heaven and a new earth grounded in the reality before us” – if you ask people at General Conference what faith is you will find yourself surrounded by a cloud of witnesses that testify to the Living God, the Resurrected Christ, the Thriving Spirit. You will see people from across the world speaking, working, crying, testifying, disagreeing, and being the church together. A messy church, even a broken church, but a striving beautiful church driven by passion. Today has been a reminder that at the center of our sacred story is a trail, crucifixion, a tomb, and then…there is no skipping Holy Saturday, that space between the workings of humanity and the workings of God. Faith is standing in that space, that “worst day ever”, raw, uncertain, fearful, and lost. Faith is standing in that place with the assurance that God is in that space with us, and God is beyond that space. Beyond that space God is working in and beyond our churches, transforming lives, saving souls, reviving the weary, healing the wounded, giving sight to the blind. We know this because we declare a faith in God who takes the work of the cross and turns it into the work of resurrection, life renewed. The work of the church is to live into and out of the holy Saturdays, knowing that Christ is waiting for us beyond the tomb. “I want the whole church for my fellowship and the whole world for my mission field.” My ministry among and with the United Methodists has given me just that and my heart breaks at the thought that this church might be divided. And I hear the words of Hebrews 12:2 “looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” faith is the radical ability to speak these words with conviction knowing that we too are called to move into unknown places as we journey into the redeeming, shaping, molding, transforming grace of God. United Methodists are already living into the ways forward that we have been debating, and God is using this church for mission and ministry in our diverse and divergent ministry settings. Perhaps we now divide on our organizing discipline as we leave General Conference, but our discipleship is not our Book of Discipline. It never was. Our discipleship is faith, rooted in Christ, graced by God, renewed in the Holy Spirit. Tomorrow we are still the church as the living body of Christ committed to the sacred relationships of ministry which we are all part of through the work of God. Nothing can take that sacred reality away: no plan, no demonstration, no amendment, no ink on a page, not even the cross and flame. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” and my hope is built on nothing less than the God who meets us beyond the tomb, beaconing “come and see” because the whole Christ, whole Bible, whole fellowship of the church, and the whole world await us as we continue God’s ministry and mission.

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