By Mandy Sayers
Pastor, Covenant UMC, Gaithersburg
As I write this, it is late May, and I am looking at an empty suitcase that I will soon pack with Annual Conference essentials: snacks, chocolate, charger, comfy pants I hope I don’t run into the bishop or my DS while wearing, and walking shoes for the Back on My Feet Initiative. It’s hard to write about excitement right now, because anxiety in the body of the UMC feels very high. The Way Forward is on our minds along with the holy work we have to do together. Sometimes the burden feels heavy. It can be hard to get excited.
Then I remember that excitement, true excitement, comes from seeing the work of the risen Christ in the world. Excitement comes because God acted, sending the Light into our darkness, making we, who were NO people, into GOD’S people. Excitement comes when we are behind locked doors afraid, but brave enough to gather in one place, and then Jesus shows up and breathes the Holy Spirit, and we speak in different tongues but hear each other anyway. Excitement comes when Peter sees the Holy Spirit fall on those he least expected and his eyes get wide. Excitement comes when you forget what you came to the well for because this Jesus is there, telling you your life and about living water.
Maybe we will forget that we came to Annual Conference to fight, win and be right, and we will instead remember that joy, that excitement that comes from an encounter with Jesus and with each other. Maybe we will remember that God is alive, that Easter is real, that the Spirit is blowing where She wants to. Maybe we will even see that we all bear the image of God and are called to be on this journey together, even when we do not agree.
I’m excited because God is at work here in the BWC. I’m excited because disciples of Jesus are being made and they are changing the world. I’m excited because the unruly dove on my stole for Pentecost reminds me that Jesus shows up whenever two or three are gathered. I’m excited because we are One Beneath the Cross.
By Daryl Williams
Pastor, St. Paul UMC, Oxon Hill
One of the most dangerous things in the life of a Christian is when the holy becomes the ordinary. When we are new believers, everything is exciting and new. We are excited to learn to pray. We are excited that we get to discover the great mysteries of the faith. We are excited when we get to go to worship and get to go to Bible Study and get to be in the presence of God.
Then something happens. Time creeps in and what used to be exciting becomes routine. What used to get our blood pumping becomes just another day at the office. The holy becomes ordinary and, if we are not careful, what was exciting becomes obligation.
We should never allow our relationship with God and our walk of faith to become ordinary. Ordinary is when you know what to expect, nothing new ever happens and everything is always the same. When we are walking with God we are invited into a great adventure where no two days have to be the same and we can be excited every morning when we get up.
As believers, we get to be a part of what God is doing in the world. We get to be a part of changing lives, healing bodies, changing minds and repairing a broken humanity. Every day is another day that God can do something awesome and we can be a part of it. Now that’s exciting!
So don’t get lulled into thinking that nothing can change, or that things are so bad that nothing can be done. That train of thought is a trick of the enemy designed to steal your joy and your excitement. Every day is a day to be excited. Every day is a day that God can do something new. Every day is a day that you can step out on faith, walk in your destiny and see what new things God can do.
The world is not static, all is not lost; God is still mighty and God still loves you. Don’t let any day be just another day. This is the day that the Lord has made so anything is possible, and that should excite you.
It certainly excites me.