The word is… go
May 11, 2016
Ancient church mothers and fathers often greeted one another with the phrase, “Give me a word.” This greeting led to the sharing of insights and wisdom. Today we continue this tradition with this monthly column.
By Mandy Sayers
Pastor, Covenant UMC, Gaithersburg
Sometimes I wish Jesus didn’t say “Go.” You know, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” I wish after he did something hard, or told some hard parable, he didn’t say “Go and do likewise.” I wish Jesus said something like, “Sit tight. It’s all good. Embrace the status quo.”
I wish the gospel didn’t make so many claims on us. I wish the Holy Spirit of Pentecost was more of a nice breeze than an unruly wind.
But God calls us always to go outside our comfort zones, to some new place we never thought we’d be, often to minister to or to love some person that we never thought we’d come to know. Jesus is consistently breaking down barriers that divide “us” (whoever WE are) from “them” (whoever THEY are), and calling us all to follow him.
Sometimes my desire to “stay” and to “leave well enough alone” is motivated by the knowledge that to “go” will mean to “change” and to have to navigate hard, complicated challenges.
Fortunately, we are seldom called to “go” alone. We are called into community, into church, in part so that when we “go,” we can “go” together. I have committed laity who courageously “go” where the Holy Spirit leads them, who faithfully wrestle with the next step outside their comfort zones that the Holy Spirit is calling them to take. I have friends who gently remind me that the Kingdom of God is really the one to which I have made my commitments, in a world where other kingdoms call me. Inspired by them (a word that means, “to breathe into”), I find I can “go” to the next place God is leading (pushing, pulling or shoving) me to go as a leader.
As United Methodists gather in Portland for General Conference, they gather as those who are “sent,” to be the church, to make disciples, to follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit. May we be surprised by the rush of a mighty Holy Spirit wind. May we be encouraged that the word “go” is not always a comfortable word, but we have a Savior and a Spirit that calls us forth, that goes ahead of us.
Ready? Set? Now… Go!
By Daryl Williams
Pastor, St. Paul UMC, Oxon Hill
While you can’t tell now, when I was younger I was quite the runner. I ran everywhere. Go to the store for mom? I ran. Get excused from class to go to the bathroom? I ran. No matter where, near or far, I ran.
But there was one type of running that I enjoyed more than all the others combined: racing. While racing was really just running, racing came with magic words. You see, as a child, every race began with, “On your mark, get set, go!”
It was the “on your mark, get set, go!” that made racing special. In those moments, you knew that something different was about to take place. Someone announced that you had to get on your mark. You couldn’t be just anywhere; you had to be in your place at an appointed time to do something specific.
Then you had to get set. Getting set made you alter your mindset. Your muscles tensed, you focused and then you waited for the magic word: GO!
No matter how on your mark you were, or how mentally set you were, nothing happened until someone said GO! On Go!, you burst out of your stance and gave it all you had until the race was run.
Many of us are reading and praying about General Conference in Portland right now. As we do, I would encourage you to be in prayer for our church. Be in prayer that we will be on our marks. That we will not try to be anywhere and everywhere, but rather that we will gather to be in the lane that God has assigned for us.
Secondly, I want to encourage you to pray that we are set. That we set our minds not on personal agendas, not on what divides us, but that we set our minds on the high calling and assignment that God has for us.
Finally, I encourage you to pray that when all is said and done, we Go! Nothing will happen until we do. Lives will not be changed unless we Go! into the highways and the by-ways seeking out the least and the lost. Finally, we must Go! out of our buildings, out of our meetings and into the world and show them the love of God and make disciples of Jesus Christ. After all that is our assignment: to GO!
So, On Your Marks… Get Set… GO!!!!
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