From the District Superintendent

Savior for a Troubled World

Posted 16 November, 2017 by Rev. Kathleen Overby Webster

 All Saints Sunday had been filled with rich worship, enjoyable table fellowship, and meaningful charge conferences. I was heading home from the last event of the day, through the fog that had rapidly descended as darkness fell.  As I approached my dinner stop I was listening to a fascinating story on the radio.  The interviewer was talking with law school students whose families had arrived in the US during the 1990's s refugees from political upheavals in places such as Bosnia and Haiti.  The stories of hardship and danger were indeed captivating.  But as my eyes scanned ahead for the entrance, I heard one young man from Haiti say that they had setted in Bristol, Tennessee because of a family connection with a United Methodist missionary who was a member of First United Methodist church there.  "And," he said, "We're still members there." 

What a warm glow I had as I entered the restaurant, filled with thanksgiving for the witness of the United Methodist Church. Then, as my food was served, I glanced at an alert on my phone and saw the terrible news of the massacre during worship at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. How quickly my heart and mind and spirit whiplashed from confident joy to deep sorrow.

We have seen again, in ways that tear at our hearts, the agony of this world. Families in shock planning multiple funerals, parents reeling with the awareness that their child is not coming home, all joining a company that stretches across every continent, war-torn regions, gang-controlled blocks, idyllic summer camp settings, movie theaters and shopping malls, grocery stores and political meet-and-greets, colleges and kindergartens, concerts and bars, synagogues, mosques, temples, and churches: Syria, Gaza, Norway, Chicago, Tucson, Portland, Blacksburg, Newtown, Charleston, Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs.

As Peter Marty wrote in The Christian Century several years ago: We still need a savior who has teeth for justice, spine for compassion, and heart for the trampled. A Savior who is up to the task of helping lost people find their way -- one who can teach broken communities how to pull together. The Lord we need to meet is one unafraid to assist a troubled world.

May we journey with that Savior in faithful, active discipleship.

Even so, Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Kathleen