In this time of disaffiliation and turmoil within The United Methodist Church and with the “revival” at Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky (and I will admit that I’m skeptical of the event – even though I believe that a movement of the Spirit is possible today as part of God’s prevenient grace wooing us to God, Asbury Seminary (yes, a separate entity from the college, but just across the street) has been ground zero for some of the “stuff” that has led us United Methodists to where we find ourselves today), what are we expecting as Christ followers? That may be a strange question, but I wonder if God isn’t doing a new thing? If so, how should we respond?
Is it possible that in the midst of the pain of disaffiliation that God is opening us up to new possibilities of outreach to a community of people who have been disenfranchised by our actions (or lack thereof) or who have been ignored because (we think that) they just aren’t important?
What if, in the midst of the turmoil, God is calling us to engage with the most vulnerable to help them with some of the situations that they are facing in life? What if God is calling us to create pathways of opportunity to help people to rise out of the situations that have held them back from reaching their potential? What if God is seeking to spur us out of our comfort zones so that we might get down into the muck and the mud with our brothers and sisters who are without hope, partner with them, and lead them to a new reality that overcomes the barriers that they have always faced?
What if we open ourselves to the new things that God is doing in our midst, get out of the way, and serve as conduits of hope and encouragement to those who experienced neither of those things before?
These are the questions that I am asking myself. These are the questions that are keeping me up at night. What is God asking of me? What is God expecting of me? What new things can I be part of as we seek to reach out to the community around us? How can we continue to let folks know that God loves them, is there for them, and never abandons them to face the world all alone? If God IS doing a new thing, where do I fit in?
Something to think about as we enter into the Season of Lent.