In many ways, Lent is a season of dust, and in many ways, this season of The United Methodist Church seems like a season of dust. So many thoughts, feelings, proposals, uncertainties swirling around us. Sometimes it feels like it’s hard to see clearly, hard to know where we are standing at any given moment. And when we can’t see clearly, we become fearful. Just as dust reminds us of our personal brokenness in Lent, this season in the church also confronts us with the church’s brokenness and frailty—after all, the church is full of dusty people!
But maybe this season of dust is an invitation to consider what God does with dust. God creates something from the dust. And maybe when the dust settles:
I hope we see a church consumed with making disciples of Jesus Christ.
I hope we see a church composed of a beautiful diversity of people.
I hope we see a church stronger and more resilient because we courageously stuck together.
I hope we see a church bound together not by lock-step agreement, but by the Holy Spirit.
I hope we see a church where people might disagree politically or theologically but love each other unconditionally.
I hope we see a church where no member would ever consciously or unconsciously say or think of another, “I have no need of you.”
I hope we see a church where the litmus test for faithfulness is not opinions on issues or how to interpret scripture, but how we are loving God and neighbor.
I hope we see a church that stands with and embraces the marginalized and excludes no one.
I hope we see a church that is absolutely captivating to those who are unchurched or dechurched.
I hope we see a church that embodies the truth that all people are created in the image of God.
I hope we see a church that affirms the gifts and calling of all people.
I hope we see a church who lives like its first allegiance is to Jesus and the Kingdom of God.
I hope we see a church willing to admit and confess when it may have gotten some things wrong in the last 2,000 years.
I hope we see a church that is the living answer to Jesus’ last prayer request that we be one.
I hope we see a church that is actually salt and light in a fractured and divisive world.
I hope we see a church in which you, YOU, feel deep in your bones like you matter and belong.
And until the dust settles, walk with Jesus. Have hope. And don’t forget what God does with dust.
A Prayer adapted from St Oscar Romero:
People of our time,
anguished about so many problems,
deprived of hope,
seeking paradise on this earth:
Seek it not here,
seek it in Christ arisen.
Let us find in him relief for our afflictions,
for our worries.
for our anguish;
and in him may we place our hope. Amen.
From the NC Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Immigration Alliance
To become educated this week:
Inform your legislators and local public officials about the practical problems families are facing.
To cultivate growth this week:
Host a listening session/forums and invite affected community members to share their stories.
To advocate this week:
Advocate with elected leaders for immigration reform that creates a legal pathway for our immigrant neighbors.
Tyler Williams is an elder in the North Carolina Conference currently serving as pastor at Village Church Rolesville Campus/Wake Forest UMC.