From the District Superintendent

Life-Giving Growth

Posted 15 March, 2018 by Rev. Kathleen Overby Webster

Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain, wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;

Love lives again, that with the dead has been: Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

- Now the Green Blade Riseth by J.M.C. Crum

It was vibrantly beautiful as I drove to church early one late-March Sunday morning. A clipper system had crossed over our valley and quickly dropped several inches of snow in the early morning. But by the time I was in the car, even the final flurries had ended and the quickly rising temperatures portended all that was so lovely now would melt away by the time folks gathered at the church. But the coming melting did not erase the present beauty of bright-green-stemmed crocuses, daffodils, and jonquils against the glistening sun-brightened snow.

Every spring I catch my breath at the sheer beauty of forsythia blooming, long, lithe branches dancing in the breeze, and the miraculous colorful blooming of flowers from, to me at least, unidentifiable bulbs and dried husks of seeds. It is a testimony to God's creative, life-giving work!

I find myself hoping that next year this time, when the called General Conference of 2019 is history and we as the United Methodist Church are beginning to understand, be shaped by, and formed into whatever outcomes emerge from it, that we will be able to glimpse a vibrant and surprising beauty that is a testimony to God's creative, life-giving work.

In the meantime, I hope you will follow the work of the Commission on the Way Forward and the recommendation that will come from the Council of Bishops. I hope you will engage with honest and kind conversation with those who ardently hope for a different outcome than you. I hope that we will not become so caught up in debate that we risk losing sight of our mission, to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, and our vision that each disciple is a life-long learner who influences others to serve.

Join me in praying for all those who are delegates to the 2019 Called General Conference (including lay delegate N.L. Bishop from Asbury UMC in Christiansburg and alternate lay delegate Jake Paysour, a member at Cave Spring UMC).

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain, 

Jesus' touch can call us back to life again,

Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:

Love is come again, like what that springeth green.