Where we find ourselves -The United Methodist Church, Part 1: Trust and Surrender
We are where we are.
We did not choose the moment we are living in. It chose us and yet, we get to choose what we do with it.
As Gandalf advised Frodo in the Fellowship of the Ring after he is asked, why are we HERE, because Frodo did not want to be where he was:
So do all who live to see such times; but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us
The church I have been a part of for past decade is splintering and splitting. The United Methodist Church, is no longer united, more like UN-TIED.
Human sexuality is the hill that is the declared battle zone - although underneath the surface, questions of Biblical interpretation reside. Further below these are all the battles for power and control that all humans face and that institutions are full of. Casualties are widespread, and the end is not in view, as of now. I have had many thoughts and such as we have gotten to this point, but I have never felt the compulsion to share. Now is the time to start sharing.
I have friends on all sides of this debate and war. Many have dug in to their trench, others wander about, trying to decide which side they will fight with and for. For me, I have been watching and observing, trying to find a place to settle on and settle in. I need principles more than I need procedures. I can hold to principles even when everything else does not make sense. I, therefore, choose to stand in this based on principles. And not my principles, but principles and values of the Kingdom of God - that was ordained by God himself, brought forward by Jesus and lived into through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So before I go any further, can I also simply say this: As we dig into Scripture, into our lives, into our churches, we are going to have blind spots. If you want to truly know the truth, God will not hide it from you. Yet you have to look, seek, search for it. You have to cry out and ask, “God show what I need to see even if I do not want to see it.”
So where do we start? I am not for sure to be honest, this morning as I was driving I kept thinking, I wish I had an outline, a way to organize all of these thoughts, but I do not. So I will start here.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Here may be the place I begin and end because it can not be escaped: our lives are to be built on trusting and surrendering to God with all of our hearts and with all we have.
And if we try to make sense of all of the situation without God’s provision and guidance -and we lean on our own understanding - it will not work. No straight paths, just crooked paths and with much fog.
And to discern the path forward, we have to be willing to trust and surrender. To lay down our own ways and for the sake of what God is doing in, through and around.
Hearts willing to learn.
Someone that is willing to admit when they are wrong.
All this we need as we go on the journey that is ahead of us.