“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, "I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:31-40 (NIV)
People of faith care about alleviating suffering!
United Methodists try very hard to use our worldwide influence to transform the world for Jesus Christ. We focus on the entire world because we take seriously the idea of John Wesley when he said, “the world is our parish.” In our global ministry, we send missionaries to almost every continent, we spread the gospel in every place we go, and we connect with the people on every continent we enter. As I mentioned in part one of this series, the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) recently met in San Antonio. I found the gathering to be more than a typical meeting. Our GBCS is diving into hands on ministry with conviction, determination, and love. We reach out to serve and demonstrate the love of Christ because we care deeply about human suffering. We are compassionate because Christ showed us the true meaning of selfless love and compassion. Our spiritual maturity enables us to see beyond the superficial, the surface, and beyond “the flesh.” Jesus says, “whatever you’ve done… or not done to these…,” leading us to do our best in loving, sharing, and caring.
Does it cause you sadness or pain to hear that we are now more than a decade into our children and schools being a shooting and death zone? Our UMC is responding!
Does it hurt your spirit to know that people are getting sick and some are dying from contaminated water (including many U.S. locations)? Our UMC is responding!
Have you been praying that we will be able to reduce or prevent the worldwide domestic violence that is destroying families? Your UMC is responding!
In these days of United Methodist conflict over human sexuality issues, your UM GBCS has total clarity about our priorities!
It’s on your behalf that the GBCS is not losing focus on the least, the lost, and the lonely. Being in a meeting rarely inspires, but I was deeply touched and inspired in San Antonio when I saw and heard the many ways our UMC is standing for Christian transformation with people who are suffering all over the world. The inspiration also extended to a hope that you and your congregation are also holding as a priority Christ's call to transform the world as applied in your community. Yes, the UMC continues to wrestle with differing perspectives on human sexuality, but much more importantly, we have an ongoing mandate to make disciples and transform the world for Jesus Christ.
I'm determined to address the human sexuality issue and more determined to continue giving time, energy, and attention to the biblical mandate given by Jesus Christ.
I hope you and your congregation will do the same.
.S. For all who are interested in matters related to the 2019 called General Conference, I invite you to a presentation and discussion on Wednesday, January 16
, at 6:30 pm at Warsaw UMC. This gathering will end by 8 pm.
There’s still time to hold a similar gathering in the Fredericksburg region if the area clergy and lay leadership contact Lynn to coordinate a time, date, and location.