Faithful dialogue

By Bishop L. Jonathan Holston

“Know that the Lord is God—he made us; we belong to him. We are his people, the sheep of his own pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; enter his courtyards with praise! Thank him! Bless his name! Because the Lord is good, his loyal love lasts forever; his faithfulness lasts generation after generation.”—Psalm 100:3-5

Many United Methodists in South Carolina have prayed about and followed along with the proceedings of the 2019 special called session of General Conference. Some see the decisions made as hurtful, yet others celebrate the outcome.

In all of this, I want to remind the people called Methodist in South Carolina to have hope. We are still one church, we are all God’s people and each of us plays an important role as we work together to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

This Lenten season can be a time for United Methodists across South Carolina to communicate with those who share our opinions and also with those whom we disagree by engaging in thoughtful and respectful discussion around the significant issues in our communities. While the pace of change in our society has perhaps never been more rapid than it is today, we are called to be faithful in our witness to Jesus Christ even when it feels risky and frightening to do so.

The only decision we can make is what will be the next step. It is difficult because sometimes we are comfortable where we are. And sometimes we are scared of going into the unknown. But that is not what God wants for us. That is not who God has called us to be.

You don’t have to know where you want to go, but when you take that one step beyond caution into God’s future for you, miraculous things will happen.

Our world is in need of people who can help us see and be part of the community. The world needs people who will respect each other regardless of who you are. How do we create the community God means for us to experience?

We were made to thrive, not simply to survive.

God wants us to be people that will lead and guide others in ways we may not even know about yet.

As followers of Christ in this Lenten season, let us be committed in our reflection, study and prayer to the hard work of peacemaking and reconciliation in our communities and beyond.

That’s the way it should be with those born of the spirit.

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