As United Methodists, we are bound together by our love of God and neighbor. Out of that love for God we gather at the Table of the Lord today as we begin our holy conferencing during Annual Conference this week.
Since we are at the beach this year, the obvious worship decoration is sand!
When we gather as God’s people at the Table, we stand with the saints who have gone before us. Who has been a saint in your life who has helped you fall in love with God more?
We are blessed to have Bishop John K. Yambasu as our special guest at Annual Conference. He serves as Bishop for Sierra Leone and brought us greetings from that beautiful country which has had such suffering in the past several years. Thanks to the impact organizations like Imagine No Malaria and The United Methodist Church have made, Bishop Yambasu reported that progress is being made and children are living longer. Thank you church for your generosity!
Bishop Hope opened the scriptures for us and shared Matthew 25. When people read this passage, they often focus on the judgement. We see the “in” versus the “out”, the “right” versus the “wrong”, and the “good” versus the “bad.” However, Bishop Hope claimed this text as a unifying text. In the choreography of God, God feeds us and we feed one another.
Bishop Yambasu reminded us of the African word, umbutu, which means “I am because you are.” I live because you live, both spiritually and physically. I love because you love. I hurt because you hurt. We see God in our neighbor’s face. Together, we are fed by God at His table.
In God’s economy, God tells us that God’s people look like me. God tells us that God’s people love like me. God tells us that God’s people are out doing God’s work.
Communion for 2000 people was a beautiful and uplifting mess. Having twenty communion stations brought difficulty in logistics, but it made for a wonderful uniting moment for the us as the Body of Christ.
Bishop Hope expressed her gratitude for the rainbow of people represented in the room. “That,” she said, “is God’s people!”
Keep us all in prayer during this week of holy conferencing!