If you’re a Methodist, you’ve heard that word. Probably a lot. As Methodists, we are proud of our ideas of connection and connectional ministry. As a young Methodist Christian, it was what first hooked me. Essentially, if you’re not privy, a United Methodist in my town is a United Methodist in your town. We are connected, of course, in our faith in Christ. We are connected in our ministry and witness, as well. Methodists commit to a common doctrine and polity. That is a significant aspect of what differentiates our tradition from others.
That connection was a part of what weighed on my heart this weekend. Saturday evening I was brushing up on my sermon and Sunday school class. Gloria and I received a text about one of our former congregations. The church had been broken into and vandalized. From the pictures, it looked like a few people went from room to room to make as big a mess as they could. Broken windows, trash thrown everywhere and CO2 from every fire extinguisher sprayed throughout the building.
It broke my heart to see the pictures. It wasn’t just the damage. It was also seeing people I know and love clean up late Saturday night to prepare for Sunday morning worship.
I did rejoice, however. I rejoiced at seeing people I know and love clean up late Saturday night to prepare for Sunday morning worship. And worship they did! I’m sure there was some anger somewhere, frustration. I’m sure there were a few conversations about what to do when/if they found out who did all the damage. But they committed to worship Christ, even in their disappointment and turmoil.
The church I worshiped with Sunday lifted up that congregation. We prayed for them. Honestly, I can’t quite explain it. The sense of connection I felt was a blessing. It was also a reminder there are others I am connected to that I need to stand with–Methodists or not. Churches are burning. Christians are suffering.
How’s your connection? I’m asking God to make mine stronger.