Travel Like Abram (General Conference)

I am currently sitting at gate B39 in JFK airport. It’s 7:30 a.m. As I look beyond the glass windows at the constant clockwork of planes taking off and landing, I wonder how many people know what’s going on in our Church. How many of these travelers are aware that the second-largest protestant denomination might crumble under the weight of injustice and fear?

Though these passengers–or your non-UMC friends–may not be aware, this weekend affects millions. It’s greater than any of us; but, after all, isn’t that how God always works–calling us, like Abram, on a journey.

Like Abram, we in The United Methodist Church are being asked to travel beyond our communities of comfort–beyond our understandings–and into the unknown. Though the promises of God may seem far-fetched–like Sarai giving birth despite her old age–we are called to follow the God of justice wherever they lead. Abram followed the nameless God and though the odds seemed stacked against his prosperity, he traveled to the new places that God had called him, and he and Sarai became the originators of a new people; them became Abraham and Sarah.

Today, it’s our turn. It’s time for us to transform, to follow, and to become what God is calling us to be–however murky the vision may currently appear. Like Abraham and Sarah we must follow God beyond what we understand to be reasonable by human standards because we, too, know that it’s not just about us. My fellow 864 delegates to this called General Conference in St. Louis must remember that though the passengers next to us may not be aware of the seriousness of this weekend, millions of lives will be impacted.

Not only will Queer people around the world be talked about (and not with), this conference affects more than us. There are those in the Church who seek to use this opportunity to break away; those who see that God is calling the Church in a new direction and yet decide it’s not where they want to go. And so, rather than turn from the path of justice with deep sadness, they seek to disassemble the Church before it can arrive in the Promised Land of equality. They seek to damn the river of justice, and run dry the stream of righteousness–and take the Church’s assets with them.

We are never promised that the road to righteousness is easy, but we are promised that it is the right road to take. May we be transformed and transfixed by the power of God this weekend; may we follow where the God of justice leads. May we become Sarahs and Abrahams; may we be the Church which God calls us to be.

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