How do you spell relief?

By Bishop Jonathan Holston

The King will reply, ˜Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. “ Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

Every weekday morning, it was the local radio station blaring from my parent's room.

The disc jockey, H. Randolph Holder, would recite his signature closing, Smile until 10 o'clock, and the rest of the day will take care of itself. Then it was Barbara Streisand singing a line from one of her hits, The Way We Were, Can it be that it was all so simple then?

Truly, it was so simple. When you think about it, we all hoped for a life much simpler.

Do you remember the games of your youth? In my community, we played games such as hide and seek, hopscotch, one-two-three red light, to name a few. I m sure you have some interesting ones in your memory.

When we reflect, the hope is for a life that is simpler, not complex; a life filled with rolling hills, not twists and turns. In fact, we are all at our best when tasks are simply explained, goals are simply identified and the right people are simply chosen. There is a desire for that which is simple and profound; a hunger for that which is relaxing but determined, as well as a thirst for that which is restful and significant.

Dennis Kimbro, in the book Daily Motivations for Success, shares some simple thoughts:

The six most important words are I admit I made a mistake.

The five most important words are What is your opinion.

The three most important words are If you please.

The two most important words are Thank you.

The most important word is We.

Friends, every day we wake up in the middle of something already going on. We live in the tension between what is and what will be. Jesus offers us comfort only by taking up his concern. Eugene Patterson in The Message says it this way: Then the King will say, ˜I m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me “you did it to me.

In reality, Jesus offers us an opportunity to refocus our attention in a more excellent way. The question is simple; namely, how can we practice a faith that speaks to the least and lost in our community? How can we be agents of relief in times of need?

First, we can make a difference in the lives of children caught in the dangerous web of poverty. On Sunday, Oct. 13, we are asking the congregations across South Carolina to celebrate the Children s Sabbath. The Conference Task Force for the Campaign for Children in Poverty will give direction to this effort. As we identify and address the issues of poverty in our communities, we are shaping the lives of children and their future. Please contact Martha Thompson or Kathy James for more information. It is my hope that you will join this significant observance.

Also, can you join me as we travel to Zimbabwe to visit Africa University? The trip is scheduled for Jan. 13-20, 2014. This is an excellent way for our conference to strengthen its ties with this international ministry. We will meet with faculty and students to address the issues of children and poverty in Zimbabwe, as well. For more information, please contact my office at 803-786-9486 and speak with Bettye Rivers. Truly, this is discovering a more excellent way.

As you receive this issue of the Advocate, I will be in the midst of rehabbing from surgery. I am indebted to the prayers and assistance of so many across the S.C. Annual Conference.

I extend to you a heartfelt thank you!

In the days and weeks ahead, my hope is to come back with a tremendous resolve to seek a more excellent way “ with a little less pain.

Now that will be a relief.

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