Henderson: My Sad Spirit Lifted By Colleagues’ Sacrifice, Friends’ Love

Ron HendersonAt the height of his despair, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. raise this question from the Birmingham jail: “Where do we go from here, chaos or community?” That thought penetrated my heart, mind and soul at the end of Monday’s legislative session at the special-called General Conference. The Traditional Plan won the day, but the constitutional challenges to make the plan law are too numerous to name in this reflection.

For a short while, I sat in the balcony to observe the floor where our delegates were seated and at work. I also sat in the balcony so that I could feel the spirits of my many colleagues who were in attendance. Sitting there felt like an ocean of sadness.

Stewing in my sadness, I reflected on the year-long work and sacrifice of my fellow delegates. These men and women, both clergy and lay, gave of themselves unselfishly and untiringly for a year in order to be prepared for this historic meeting. Reflecting on my colleagues’ year-long sacrifice (just for this moment) lifted my spirits.

I was further inspired as I sat in the balcony with my friends and colleagues from the North Texas Conference. They were there at their own expense, not just to observe, but because they love Jesus; they love The United Methodist Church; and they love God’s people. They were there because they believe in the beloved community that Dr. King dreamed about from the Birmingham jail.

It was at this moment that I was reminded by the Holy Spirit that Jesus’ suffering, death, resurrection and exaltation are not in vain. I also realized that my friends’ love for our church and God’s people will never let us down. I was glad to recall that this is Jesus’ church and that nothing would prevail against it.

Come Tuesday, my friends and I will be back at the center to roll up our sleeves and continue the fight for our beloved church. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Rev. Ron Henderson is the North Central District Superintendent and a NTC delegate to the Special Session of General Conference.

Published: Monday, February 25, 2019

Added by Frances Long, North Texas Conference Archivist

I believe with all my heart that some where in all this sadness and disbelief that something good has got come out of it. All our prayers and all the voices that were heard and not heard on Monday could not have be in vain. Yes, I do not believe our church that wants to be Christ's Church will some how be better because of all of this. I am scared and I am worried, but being a UM is still in that arena and it has not left the building. Just keep your head up and keep going.
Added by Catherine Williams

Numbers 11:23 God asks Moses “ have the Lords arms been shortened? “. This is now my favorite verse and I claim it every day for anything that might trouble me. I know our God can handle anything and we waste time and energy stewing about it. Just keep lifting up our church.
Added by Anonymous

Thank you for your inspirational message.
Added by Mike Holloway, FUMC Dallas

I am just one member of FUMC Dallas, with no authority to speak for anyone about anything. I am not at the Conference, and have no idea about all of the ramifications of this plan or that plan. All I know is: I try my best to love God and my neighbor, and need forgiveness every day for my failings. The church, in my experience, is a force for good in the world. On the issue of gay rights and marriage, I think each individual church should decide how it will handle it. I recognize that this is unsatisfactory to many, but to me, it is the only "way forward". Personally, friendships I have formed with our gay members (I am straight) leads me to advocate for full inclusion in all respects (yes, marriage for gay couples, baptism of their children, gay ministers). I confess to having some uncomfortable feelings taking this position, but in the end I cannot be a part of a group that excludes other human beings, for whatever reason. I do not believe Jesus would do that. All I know is: I am to love God and love my neighbor. The rest is none of my business. As with Abraham and Issac in Genesis 22:8, when I do not understand what will happen, or how the problem we see can be resolved, "My son, God will provide . . . ".
Added by Anonymous

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I love our Church and I believe that we should be more inclusive as Jesus taught us to be. We are not to judge others. That is for God!
Added by Don Holder, FUMC Wichita Falls

The door seems to have been closed.
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