From the District Superintendent

Form or Substance?

Posted 16 October, 2017 by Rev. Kathleen Overby Webster

The newly placed stone columns defined the stage space where Duke University's inauguration of its new president would take place on the plaza in front of the Chapel. The stone columns seemed massive, solid, and real. But, of course, they weren't. It seems the day before "everyone" had been taking selfies as they lifted the corner of one up by their bare hands. While they were a perfect stage setting those columns could never be or do what it appeared they could at first glance.

 I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are in fact dead (Revelation 3:1)

 I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid, lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. (John Wesley)

The work of charge conferences and the season of fall harvest invite us to pause and consider if we and the churches we represent are in fact the real deal or do we only have the form? Are we communities which are introducing people of all ages, nations, and races to the love of God and the transforming power of Christ in their lives and in the world. Are we representatives of God's justice and mercy, forgiveness and grace in the broken places in our neighborhoods, towns, and cities, counties and zip code areas?  Are we encouraging followers of Jesus to be life-long learners, helping them see the places of their influence, and ourselves taking up the mantle of influence? Are we serving those who are lost, grieving, and hopeless? Are we inviting others to come alongside us as we join with God in serving those whom God loves next door, around the corner, across town and all over the world?


Journeying with you in faithful discipleship,