What Have We Become?

Protests abound and it becomes clear to me how divided we are as a church. As I look out on the body I see worried faces, delegates crying, and a general weariness that permeates those doing the difficult work of the General Conference. How is the Holy Spirit supposed to blow freely in a body that is in so much pain?

I am the Minister of Congregational Care for a large church in the Western North Carolina Conference and by nature of my vocation spend a good amount of time with people who are sick. Illness and pain can be so consuming. Anyone who has suffered from a migraine to cancer knows that pain canbecometheprimary preoccupation ofthe mind, body, and soul. Slowly, if that is the only thing that a person thinks about it becomes the thing they are. They become the very pain that invades their body, mind, and soul. What pastor hasn’t visited a member who only talks about their innumerable pains and ailments? The conversation is stifled and governed only by the whims of their suffering. Generally, my visits are brief and exhausting. Without a doubt, very little conversation happens.

I have also been around people who suffer yet tap into a power and hope that supersedes human ability. In spite of the suffering they endure, they are led by a force that is holy and great, a force that spreads to all those that visit with them. I have been inspired by those who allow their pain to be witness of God’s power.

I wonder about our church and the pain that seems to have become the preoccupation of our body, mind, and soul. We have been divided on several of the difficult decisions that have come to the plenary floor. I fear that our pain will shape us into a body that is marred and unrecognizable. But we have another choice. We can allow our pain to be a place for God to dwell and breathe new life into our pain. We can choose to be a different witness. We can choose to not allow our pain to define the United Methodist Church. We are to be the church to a really hurting world that needs to see us deal with our pain as Easter people. After all, we must not forget that our pain is not ours alone but our Creator’s too.For whatever you bound on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth while be loosed in heaven(Matthew 18:18).


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Social Concerns
Susan Kim. Photo courtesy of the author.

Where do Korean Americans stand?

Asian Americans often confront implicit bias in questions like “Where are you really from?” Susan Sungsil Kim has crafted responses to such questions that stand up for her rights while also providing an educational opportunity to those who ask.
Social Concerns
Kendra Weddle. Photo courtesy of the author.

Let’s love our neighbors

Growing up in a traditionalist church but now on staff at a reconciling congregation, Kendra Weddle feels there is room at the table for everyone.
General Church
The Revs. Carolyn Moore and Keith Boyette pray for the Rev. Jay Therrell (center) at the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s May 7 gathering in Avon, Ind. The day before, the WCA’s Global Legislative Assembly elected Therrell as the new WCA president. He’ll succeed Boyette, who will be top executive of the new Global Methodist Church. Photo by Sam Hodges, UM News.

Traditionalist group not going away

The Wesleyan Covenant Association took the lead in creating the new Global Methodist Church, but WCA leaders say their organization needs to keep fighting for churches wanting to leave The United Methodist Church.