Bishop Ward reflects on the unfolding tension in days leading to the Easter story and reminds us conflict transformation is possible. To learn more about JustPeace and “Leading in Anxious Times” visit: http://justpeaceumc.org/.
Grace, peace, and strength to you as you make your Lenten journey.
As the Lenten journey unfolds, the tensions increase. The anxieties escalate. When Jesus gathers for the Last Supper and shares the cup and the loaf with His closest followers, there is tension in room, conflict in the room. Betrayal and denial are all a part of this Lenten story.
It’s helpful for us to engage in this truthful study of scripture as we move toward Easter, because we are engaged in our lives in a world that is polarized, conflicted, anxious and fearful. There is nothing that we face that the scriptures do not address.
In our annual conference, we are investing time and resources and leadership so that we might all better navigate the inevitable conflict that is a part of life. Through a generous grant of the Duke Endowment, we have staff in place who are working to create district teams trained to help us lead in our local settings in ways that will create stronger and more healthy community. These skills will also help us navigate the conflict that is inevitable when more than two or three people are gathered in our humanity.
Today on March 3, there’s a gathering of clergy and laity who want to increase their skills in this regard. Two of the staff of JustPeace, the Conflict Transformation Center of The United Methodist Church, are here with us. The day is simply called Leading in Anxious Times.
Let us all be prayerful that we may be stronger, even as we are more gentle in our leadership, that we may be wise in the ways we convene and gather. May Christ’s peace be with us. May the strength of Christ be with us as we grow toward God.