This weekend marks a number of things for many of us, as it is Memorial Day Weekend. Memorial Day is a national holiday dedicated to remembering and honoring those who have died while serving our nation in the military. For those who have been directly touched by the loss of a loved one serving in the military, it has profound significance. As Americans, we should all be sure to pause and remember those brave souls who lost their lives while serving our country and protecting our freedom. I hope that we will all pause and pray for one another, particularly those who directly mourn the loss of a loved one who gave their life serving the United States of America.
This significant remembrance is often lost in the many other things happening this time of year and especially this weekend. This weekend marks the beginning of summer; particularly the end of another school year for many. The weekend will be filled with graduation services and other events marking the end of something that leads to a transition to what lies next. Many of us will be focused on family gatherings and vacation getaways. Others will start summer jobs. Some are focused on holiday bargain sales on everything from cars to furniture.
For me, it marks the time every year where I go to gather with fellow clergy and lay leadership at our Texas Annual Conference in Houston. This year, given the climate of division and conflict within our denomination, I find myself less excited and more wary of the Annual Conference. In a time where we should be focused on what unites us, too many are lobbying for what satisfies their personal preferences to the heightened conflict within our denomination. I ask that you pray for discernment, grace, and, yes, unity, within our conference and broader denomination. Pray that we may be led by the Holy Spirit to listen more intently and discuss more constructively the matters before us. Pray that we will elect thoughtful and gracious leaders to represent us at the next General Conference.
This weekend also marks an exciting time of transition for our church. Youth and adults are preparing for numerous mission trips to share the love of God beyond our community. Children and youth are preparing for church camp at Lakeview. Preparations for Vacation Bible School involve adults and youth seeking to lead children to more profound faith opportunities. We are also preparing for a "mid-summer" awakening with sermon series, studies, events, and other opportunities to deepen our faith and enrich our witness to the world.
As you enter into a season of many pulls and tugs, I hope that you will keep God, our church, and your personal journey of faith at the forefront of your summer plans. We all need to remember that the greatest sacrifice of love was offered by Jesus on the cross, mindful that it was not an end, but a transition to resurrection, redemption, and an exciting journey of opportunity that lies ahead. Make it a priority to stay connected and active in the upcoming season. See you at church!
Grace and Peace,