Through the decades, when Methodists/United Methodists gather together — especially in clergy gatherings — it is traditional to sing, And Are We Yet Alive? It is not a moot point or a forgone conclusion. The second verse is a challenge to this year’s General Conference:
Preserved by power divine
to full salvation here,
again in Jesus’ praise we join,
and in his sight appear.
It is so incredibly important that we realize Jesus is watching us. We come claiming to love God and to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, but will our behaviors bear this out? Progressive/traditional, conservative/liberal (theologically, politically, socially), clergy/laity, old/young, gay/straight, northern hemisphere/southern hemisphere — none of this makes any difference. Preserved by the power divine to full salvation here, we are a baptized family, one body. What God has joined together, let no one tear asunder…
What troubles have we seen,
what mighty conflicts past,
fightings without, and fears within,
since we assembled last!
Need we really say more? When will our conflicts be past? When will we become a people of faith instead of fighting and fear? When will we come together as true brothers and sisters in one mind, one spirit, one faith? Wouldn’t it be phenomenal if we could become an example to the world of a healthy, productive, loving and creative way of dealing with our disagreements?
Let us take up the cross
till we the crown obtain,
and gladly reckon all things loss
so we may Jesus gain.
Let us make a firm determination to focus on the transforming power of the Spirit of the living God to do all the good we can. Let us stop doing harm by pointing fingers at other people, blaming them of doing harm. Let us attend to the ordinances of God — to pray, the listen, to serve, to love, to study, to worship, and to celebrate TOGETHER. Now is the time to set aside what divides, and proclaim for the whole world to hear what reconciles, connects, heals and makes us one.