“When Jesus turned and saw them following, he asked, “ What are you looking for? ” They said, “Rabbi (which is translated Teacher ), where are you staying?” He replied, “ Come and see. ” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.”
John 1:38-39 CEB
If Jesus would come to you today and ask “What are you looking for?” How would you respond?
Then there is that invitation to “Come and see.” Are you willing to come and see what Jesus is wanting to show you on your journey?
13 At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River so that John would baptize him. 14 John tried to stop him and said, “I need to be baptized by you, yet you come to me?” 15 Jesus answered, “Allow me to be baptized now. This is necessary to fulfill all righteousness.” So John agreed to baptize Jesus. 16 When Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up out of the water. Heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on him. 17 A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love; I find happiness in him.”
20 years and I still remember. Kneeling at Miami FUMC. I close my eyes and remember the water hitting the top of my head and rolling down my back. The hands that were laid on me felt like my weighted blanket that I use from time to time. And though I did not hear an audible voice claiming me it felt like the vibrations of an audible voice claiming me. I will always remember my baptism.
I remember in Oklahoma City at Chapel Hill UMC when our Church family agreed to support Laura as we baptized her. We needed to hear that we were not alone in this journey of raising our child to follow Jesus.
I remember holding Emily’s baptism with my mother over my right shoulder with a huge smile on her face.
I remember baptizing my nieces and nephew in our Native American regalia that my mother had made all of us on Native American Sunday.
I remember the Sunday that when we invited the Church to remember their baptism the women who was well seasoned in life saying, “now was the time.” The congregation was shocked because everyone assumed that she had already been baptized.
I will remember the Sunday I went down to Camp Egan with a group of people to baptize a man who wanted to be baptized in a creek.
One of the things I love about this Sunday in the Church is the chance to remember our baptism.
So what do we do with those who have never been baptized or were so young don’t remember? I always make the invitation to come a create a memory and maybe now is the time to come and be baptized because the water is fine.
There are countless others. The ones I share with you are the few that I have read. This weekend I needed to be with a family who said goodbye to a loved one. Sunday’s at Church are always all-consuming. Then Monday worked on an epiphany staff party. Now I can throw a hat into the ring.
This is just a proposal nothing is set in stone. We must wait until the General Conference for anything. Waiting sucks. But only General Conference can speak for the General Church.
Last year taught me to take these kinds of things in stride. I will be praying about what direction I need to go and I need to lead the great people of Tahlequah UMC.
There will be splintering within the UMC after this General Conference. What that looks like I do not know. After last year’s special called General Conference I find it healthier for me not to be consumed by the what if’s, but to preach the word, love the people and serve the sacrament.
I am committed to Doing all the good I can, Doing No Harm, and Staying in Love with God. These are the General Rules of the Methodist Church found in our current Book of Discipline.
My all means all. All are welcomed to worship, fellowship, study and serve with us at Tahlequah UMC.
I am committed to resisting the Traditional Book of Discipline as it stands now. I feel it violates Paragraph 140 of our call to Inclusiveness in the Book of Discipline, the General Rules and of how Jesus showed us how to live.
We have our work cut out for us in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of self and of the world. So, let’s go and do this with love.