Bishop Ward and Steve Taylor introduce the new theme for the Connectional Table – Generosity in Every Season – and highlight the story of the Good Samaritan from the Gospel of Luke.
Bishop Ward: Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Right after Annual Conference on June 20, Monday, we gathered for retreat to focus on God’s beckoning us into the new quadrennium. The new Connectional Table and the Cabinet met for a day. Steve Taylor is our Director of Connectional Ministries.
Steve: Through our gathering, we lived in and visioned a theme of “Generosity in Every Season.” One of the wonders of the day is we had a graphic narrator there with us who helped us think creatively about our theme and also narrated out our story together of that day.
Bishop Ward: The picture which she drew for us at the end of the day had a pathway, a road, toward this future that God is giving. I give thanks that during this summer the Gospel text have been appointed from the Gospel of Luke. Week by week, as I look at those texts, I’m amazed. Every single one of them is about God’s generosity, as are many other pages in the Bible.
Steve: One of the stories that we most remember is the story of the Good Samaritan, which definitely features a wanderer on the road who is attacked and is left in the ditch and who comes along but a Good Samaritan. It reminded me of a time when we were in Palestine in a retreat with Palestinian Christian youth and we lived out this text in an animated way and had the kids play the parts of the characters except we re-contextualized the text into modern day vernacular and the Samaritan became an Israeli soldier. One of the kids who was going to play that part was a Palestinian Christian kid who had had some very difficult dealings with some of the soldiers. He looked at me and he said, “That’s impossible! That could never happen.” But then as he began to live out the text and reflected on how God uses the improbable and the impossible to bring about God’s generosity, he suddenly saw the world in a different way.
Bishop Ward: This text, “The Good Samaritan” as we commonly call it, is appointed for this very next Sunday, and we do give thanks that God’s generosity comes to us in all seasons, when we are younger and when we are older, through the liturgical year beginning in Advent and extending all the way to the “Reign of Christ Sunday” in November.
Steve: In times that are good and seasons that are bad, in both the joy, and sometimes even in the midst of violence.
Bishop Ward: So together let us watch for every sign of God’s great generosity.