I usually think I’m right. It really only makes sense. If I didn’t believe my thinking was correct, I wouldn’t hold the opinions I do. I think that’s true for most of us right? Whatever the subject, whatever the issue being discussed, we have a perspective that we hold and that’s what we believe is correct.
Now, that’s not to say we are not perhaps open to influence. It’s not to say that on some issues we hold our convictions lightly and are willing to provide space for change. Often we are in varying degrees. And it’s not that we aren’t willing take the “live and let live” approach with those who see things differently than we do.
But sometimes it’s just hard to get there. Sometimes our convictions drive us to places of in-flexibility. We feel so strongly about our position it’s hard to provide any space for discussion, compromise, or difference. We believe we are right and the right we believe in is, or at least feels, central to our world view and sometimes even our faith.
This week we have been invited, by the Commission on a Way Forward, to pray. Our Bishop and the Council of Bishops have invited us to pray. We are being asked to bring before God our significant differences around human sexuality, the work of the Commission and the upcoming (2019) Special General Conference.
In the midst of our strongly held convictions, my prayer is that we might join together in this time to pray for our Church, for its mission, ministry, and future. I pray that even in the midst of those strongly held convictions we might hold one another up and ask the Holy Spirit to open all our hearts to what God wants to do in us and through us in this moment.
Our Bishop has provided to us this week the prayer below, and I offer it to you as well with my hope that God will guide and lead us through these days by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
Gracious God, there is much still to be decided as The United Methodist Church moves into the future. Even in the unknown, even where there is chaos and confusion, remind us again and again of the power of your love which ripples through history changing lives, transforming the world, and creating new possibilities for kindness, compassion, caring, and connection. May these ripples of your love and grace flow freely out from us. May these ripples of your love and grace flow deeply into us. Enlarge our hearts. Enliven our minds. Expand our imaginations. Make gentle and generous our spirits. In Jesus’ name and for his sake. Amen. ~ Bishop David Bard