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Where To Now? - A message from the District Superintendent

posted on February 12

Where To Now?

Michael and I and our daughter Lexi are out hiking the Valley, stunned by the massive rock formations rising up in the distance. You can tell it wasn’t warm, but the way was clear. Or so we thought. But I was reminded as we hiked, and backtracked, and got colder, that having a destination is not the same as having directions. “Not a Trail” left us laughing in appreciation of a side path we were not to take.

A destination is not the same as directions. In this season in our denomination and Conference, I believe we need to remind ourselves daily that we all share the same destination. We all want to “be one of them” when the saints come marching in. We all want to hear our Lord look as us and say, “well done, good and faithful servant.” Never doubt this about any clergy colleague, even if you doubt that their directions are the ones to get you there. We all seek the same destination.

A destination is not the same as directions. We each have to figure out how to act while we hike and what paths are ‘not a trail’ for us. For me, no matter how we find ourselves as the Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church in the coming year, I believe that any path that is contemptuous of colleagues is just one step short of hatred. And as MLK said, hate is too great a burden to bear, stick with love. Jesus said that too, but we do well not to call each other enemies we need to love, but instead colleagues seeking the same destination.

A destination is not the same as directions. But that doesn’t mean we wander in circles with no clue what to do. We have directions that still apply to all of us: feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, proclaim the good news, teach the children, care for the widows and orphans. We cannot forget our true destination, our true home, while we sort our denomination out. For who will starve, who will die of despair, who will walk away if we are obsessed with our arguments?

Ask yourself, "What are the trails I will and won’t take in the coming months?" There are trails that pass by still waters of prayer as we worship. Trails that pass through valleys as dark as death as we accompany those who grieve. Trails that strain our strength but reward us with vistas of God’s power in creation.

A destination is not the same as directions. We may be surprised at our company on the trails we hike. But I pray we all keep our souls and strength fixed on our destination, for only Jesus is holy and worthy of all the days of our lives. May you find strength and company for these days.