Simon’s Says ~ from Alan

Some further thought on a prayer request one of you made on Sunday...

Last week the United Methodist Church, a global mainline Protestant denomination descended from from the religious impulse toward evangelism principally formulated by English brothers John and Charles Wesley, voted a) to deny the performing of same-gender marriage within its churches and by its clergy, and b) to deny or refuse to recognize the ordination of LGBTQ persons to ministry.  You can read more about the decision here: 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/02/26/united-methodist-church-votes-maintain-its-opposition-same-sex-marriage-gay-clergy/?utm_term=.51dc1da8fcea

I think it is a season of tremendous sadness for the church - not just the UMC, but for the Church as a whole.  I’ll be speaking more about it this weekend, but I’ll note here that the vote occurred at the cusp of Lent, a season for prayer, for repentance, for turning closer to God, and if God’s hand is in this decision at all, then perhaps it’s in the timing.  Regardless of one’s spiritual persuasion, the opportunity remains for all of us to pray, to meditate, to offer our hearts and our solidarity to all those who have been hurt by this decision.

You’ve heard me refer to Will Willimon before.  A Methodist Bishop himself, Willimon wrote this in the most recent issue of Christian Century: 

“Before the United Methodist Special General Conference opened on Saturday, we prayed... We prayed for openness to different points of view, unity, communion, gracious listening, holy conferencing, empathetic feelings, and generosity of spirit.  It didn’t work...  The Lord, as far as I could tell, had business elsewhere.”  (The entire article is here: 

https://www.christiancentury.org/blog-post/guest-post/methodist-mess-st-louis)

So thank you for Sunday’s prayer request, my friend.  And while we pray for our Methodist siblings, we also pray for ourselves: for understanding, for patience, for courage in parlous times and for the Holy Spirit of God to do the bold work of mission and ministry - and welcome and inclusion - that we mortals are sometimes unable to do for ourselves.

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