A world gathering of Methodist Misfits

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This week I will be at the Division on Young Peoples Ministry’s yearly gathering in Estes Park, Colorado. This is a board of young people from throughout the United Methodist Church: the United States, the Philippines, countries in Europe and Africa. One of the phrases shared by the members of the African churches upon learning of the chance to meet, is that they will be there “by the grace of God.” While many times I struggle with this especially because I don’t think God is the “kid on the ant hill” controlling the universe, there is something powerful in this statement I have been trying to pay attention to. Perhaps it is something about the hope displayed by the people who share this phrase, despite the disparate social, economic, and political situations among which they live.

Our varying backgrounds, histories, and lives are all different. In fact even the way we practice being Methodist or Christian is extremely different. One thing we bring together in common is that only Methodists come from all over the world to a beautiful place, and then have meetings. All right so Methodists love meetings! However, the irony is meetings are not where the church and God’s love is happening, it is in the relationships that we develop. One of my friends I met last time is working on Young Adult Ministry in Maryland. Another is developing mission for young people in the Detroit area. Each of these young people is working hard to share a positive change with their individual community.

Perhaps all the work we do is by God’s grace, but for me that grace perhaps is not that God determines the next thing. Instead for me it is that God’s loving presence assists us in connecting with our neighbors and overcoming the challenges in front of us. God’s grace is literally the ability for us to share positive change in a world with complex challenges. As we go out into this week, ask the question, “What is God’s grace and where do I see it?”

Enthusiastic Grace and Peace,

Pastor Tyler

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