This is the last (I promise) in a series of devotional articles I have written, using Fall 2020 Charge Conferences in the Capital District, as the bedrock and source. I have been inspired and occasionally challenged by the things I have learned but want to thank everyone for their participation in this delightful series of United Methodist happenings!
I hadn’t counted how many charge conferences I have done so far until last week when a member of The District Committee on the Superintendency asked me. At that point I had done 65, roughly 2/3’s. They have been fascinating and full of hope. My questioner asked me after the meeting – on another Zoom – to use one word to sum them up. Without thinking but a moment I popped out with “Hesed.”
Hesed is the ancient Hebrew word for “lovingkindness.” Lovingkindness is another underused word in our day but it means exactly what one would think. This fall’s charge conferences have been full of grace and kindness -partly you could cynically say because not everyone is used to dealing with on-line meetings and on-line meeting protocols, but I think they are full of lovingkindness for many more reasons.
I think people know that now we need to give grace to each other. Everyone is under stress. Stress from the election (regardless of how you feel about it) and its unwinding processes. It is loving and it is kind to give the benefit of the doubt to someone else. It doesn’t always happen but you can make it happen between yourself and someone else today.
I heard lots of folks talking about their basic needs for God and for community. When we are pressed by life, most of us can confess what really matters. Some of us are blessed to know what matters without pressure. And folks know they need God and they need each other. Reduced to that simple equation, people can respond with those gifts of testimony to God’s love that they have experienced and to the need for mutual support that they know, offering the same to others. That means church.
And charge conferences have been hesed because they have testified to me how the church – the people who are the church – are very much at work being Jesus’ people. So if you need hope for the world, go to church on Zoom and hear how God is at work in the lives of people today who show that love by acts of devotion to Christ and acts of kindness in their communities and through our connection, around the world. The sense of blessedness or hesed you take from those conferences will assure you for the church’s future and for the future of the Gospel in this broken and hurting world.
Thanks be to God!
If you would like to view past editions of Hello from Harvey, follow this link: https://capitaldistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/