Carrying the Good News

I have come back from renewal leave with enthusiasm and hope for ministry in our changing (wilderness) time. Today, I am at a meeting of the Conclave (the name for the Texas Methodist Foundation’s clergy group for the 11 active bishops in the South Central Jurisdiction). As usual I find the discussion stimulating and engaging. Like much of the church, we are wrestling with the deeper implications of “making disciples for the transformation of the world.” There are many nuanced definitions of discipleship. Among the mix it seems safe to assert that a disciple is a carrier of the good of Jesus Christ. It also seems apparent (but needs saying) that we can’t make disciples without being a disciple. Our mission statement challenges me to walk closer with God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. . . And to invite others to join with me in a common journey. My prayer remains that of Aelred of Rievualx “to see Him [Christ] more clearly, love Him more dearly, and follow Him more nearly.” In the midst of exciting challenges and hopeful signs of God at work, reality intersects. Yesterday on my drive down to Austin, my wife called with news of the tragic death of one of her cousin’s children (a young woman age 27). My planned activities are in the midst of being suddenly rearranged. Tomorrow we will drive to Louisiana for the funeral service. Our extended family grief is a part of wilderness living (and dying). The Wesleyan Heritage part of our renewal leave calls to mind John Wesley’s dying words:  “The best of all is that God is with us!”