From the District Superintendent

The Quiet Center in Our Clutter

Posted 17 April, 2019 by Rev. Kathleen Overby Webster

Though we were all in different locations at 6 AM, the district superintendents gathered together in spirit for a focused time of prayer on the Sunday before the April Cabinet meeting. Bishop Lewis had begun this practice in her first year as our Bishop and Bishop Weaver continued it this month. Wherever we are early on the Sunday morning before each Cabinet meeting focused on appointments, we come together in a Covenant Prayer shaped by these understandings:

  • God is in control of the appointive process
  • We allow the Holy Spirit to move in our discussion
  • We make bold and creative appointments and think outside the box

In the predawn quiet and dark of March 31, the words from Shirley Erena Murray's hymn "Come and Find the Quiet Center" echoed in my spirit.

Come and find the quiet center in the crowded life we lead, find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed: Clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes that we can see all the things that really matter, be at peace, and simply be.

Silence is a friend who claims us, cools the heat and slows the pace, God it is who speaks and names us, knows our being, touches base, making space within our thinking, lifting shades to show the sun, raising courage when we're shrinking, finding scope for faith begun. In the Spirit let us travel, open to each other's pain, let our loves and fears unravel, celebrate the space we gain: There's place for deepest dreaming,there's a time for heart to care, in the Spirit's lively scheming there is always room to spare.

(From The Faith We Sing used by permission of Abingdon Press. Copyright by Hope Publishing)

The phrase "clear the chaos and the clutter" especially reverberated me. With our long planned kitchen remodel underway even my morning coffee and prayer space was torn up. It honestly felt hard for me in that morning's still-gathering light to differentiate church, home, and soul clutter.

Providentially, Sunday, March 31 marked the 203rd anniversary of Francis Asbury's death. With the fruit of his work still visible today across Virginia, I'm reminded that sometimes it helps to take the long view, even as I recall his fervor to reach others this day and every day for Christ.

In whatever chaos and clutter we find ourselves individually, congregationally, denominationally, I remain grateful for your work and witness and give thanks for the "Spirit's lively scheming".

With hope and peace in Christ, who was crucified and is risen