Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Rev. 22.20
In the waning hours of Advent, this is my prayer. Often it is that the final edit of the Christmas Eve message is saved and printed. Often it is that the final substitution of personnel for the Christmas Eve services has been settled. Often it is that the final nit-picking wilted poinsettia has been revived. Often it is that the Christmas Eve bed has been made for a long winter nap to begin at 1:30am and Christmas brunch foods are purchased, prepped, and readied for a late morning breaking of the fast.
I savor this hinge point. I savor it as I savor this moment in the life of our denomination.
You and I have been preparing for years, intensely for months, to welcome a renewed United Methodist denomination that no longer blocks the affirmation of God, Christ, and Spirit for its members of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Our prayer is the same, is it not?
Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Reside with us. Abide with us. Go with us.
Thank you for your many gifts – time, talent, and treasure. They are like preparations for the Advent of Christ coming among the United Methodist Church anew. They are oiling the hinges of the door as it prepares to swing open to let Christ and all he loves into our beloved United Methodist Church.
I was sixteen when I learned the word, “Maranatha!” It means, “Come, Lord Jesus!” I was at Expo ’72, a gathering of young people in Dallas, Texas. My trusting parents let me travel by bus from Michigan to Dallas alone. It was a hinge point in my faith. Although my relationship with Christ had been electrified during communion as a seventh grader, my teenage faith was empowered by the Spirit in Dallas. In that season of Spiritual revival, my life continued its long trajectory of conversion. Each turning point. Each set-back. Each struggle. Each call. Each love. Each dilemma. Each step. “Maranatha!” became an important theme on that journey.
You see, discipleship has always been about living on the hinge point between what is and what will be. I am grateful to have never been satisfied with a once-saved, always-saved perspective, or formula, or Calvinist interpretation. I’m Wesleyan through and through. The sanctifying power of the Spirit keeps on working on me. It may be trite but it still is true: God isn’t finished with me yet. In like manner, God isn’t finished with us, the UMC yet. Every day is a hinge to what more is possible in me, in you, in the denomination, and in the world.
So I continue that prayer I began so long ago. I hope you will too. For together we are a hinge into this next Advent of Christ in the UMC and world. Let’s be the prayer as well. Let’s resist all traditionalist efforts to purge the United Methodist Church of its lgbtq members, friends, families, pastors, allies, and congregations.
“I am coming soon,” the Christus Victor said. “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus,” the observing author replied. Revelation 22.20
“The best of all: God with us!”
David W. Meredith, UM elder, Pastor of Clifton United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, OH and Director of Urban Ministry for the Ohio River Valley District, spouse of Jim Schlachter, living under complaint.