I was out mattress shopping (my dog ate a hole in my mattress – yeah, I’ve forgiven her but it still makes me mad when I think of it). Anyway, I was out mattress shopping and I was feeling a little bit like Goldilocks. This one is too hard, this one is too soft, etc. But I just couldn’t find the one that felt right. If I’m going to spend this kind of money (I can really be kinda cheap) then I am going to get EXACTLY what I want. The salesperson tried to hide the rolling of her eyes as she asked (again) “what exactly are you looking for?” I tried to explain, “I love the mattress at the seminary that I go to in Ohio. The mattress is firm, but ….soft!” (Again… I am sure I saw the rolling of her eyes.) “Well, ma’am, I’m not sure what that means.” So I told her, “I want something that supports me, but also is comforting and cozy. Something that feels cushy and envelops me, but underneath is strong and dependable!”
Then it struck me………..this is what people say to me about what they want in their church! They want a church that feels cushy and comfortable and soft, but they want firmness underneath. They want to be supported and safe. This is a hard thing to deliver as a mattress AND as a church.
In a few weeks, delegates from all over the world will converge on a conference center in Oregon. They will worship together, they will fellowship together and they will discuss and vote on many many things. Delegates from 130 Annual Conferences will be there in Portland, thousands coming together to prayerfully make decisions about our denomination. They will revise church law, adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues and they will approve plans and budgets for our church-wide programs.
They will be discussing several hot-button issues including some LGBT issues. What they decide will be our church law – our foundation. Like a firm mattress, their work will be the firmness that holds us and supports us. What we do with it, in each individual small church is the cushiness. WE are the ones who will apply the resolutions to our daily church lives. WE will be the ones who will LIVE them. How we apply them, how we live them is very important. We can look at the resolutions with hardness or we can look at them with mercy. But they will be ours to uphold. Whatever they are.
This is a very pivotal time in the life of the United Methodist Church. I hope that no matter how you feel about the issues, you will pray with all your heart that God’s Will will be heard and done. Take some extra time to pray about this conference and the people who are there struggling to be heard and understood and to hear and understand. Pray about the changes that may/may not be coming for our denomination. Above all, pray that we can all remember that we are all FAMILY and even when we do not agree, we can still listen to each other and love each other and treat each other with mercy and grace.
I know that I’ll be at the computer, praying as I watch our Church history in the making.
And now, I must go and continue to look for the “perfect” mattress. (sigh)