Day Ten, Friday, May 29, 2015
This is how the love of God is revealed to us:
God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him.
This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and
sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.
Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other.
– 1 John 4: 9-11 (CEB)
Some of the best days of my life were May 29-June 1, 2014. The Indiana Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church gathered in Halls J and K of the Indiana Convention Center, and right next door, in Halls F-I, the inaugural Indy PopCon assembled. I spent those four days moving back and forth between two worlds that I dearly love: The United Methodist Church and geek culture (comics, science fiction, fantasy, gaming, Internet media, etc.). At one point, I was standing on the walkway above the main floor, looking down at these two communities. It suddenly occurred to me that these two groups are not as different as they appear at first glance. People in both groups have found a story that matters to them, that has touched them deeply or changed them profoundly. They are willing to travel great distances, give several days of their time, and offer their personal gifts so that they can gather with other people to whom that story also matters.
As human beings, we crave stories. Stories help us make sense of the world and of our own lives. Stories shape us, guide us, correct us, and encourage us. Stories inspire us to live differently, with more compassion or courage or justice or mercy or love. Stories matter. The story of God’s love for the world, fully expressed through Jesus Christ, is a story that matters, and it is one that the world desperately needs to hear. As United Methodists, we have a particular way of telling this story, as we emphasize God’s prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace. This story matters to us, and we take joy in gathering with others who also love the story. When we allow the story of God’s love in Jesus Christ to shape and transform us, we soon feel compelled to share that story with others as well. Not to coerce or compel them, but to offer them an opportunity to experience God’s love themselves. We become part of the story, and we invite others to become a part of it too. Story matters. What story matters to you?
Eternal God, Creator of all life, Author of salvation, Giver of all grace, we gather in your presence to hear your story anew. Tell us again of your love for us in Jesus Christ. We surrender ourselves to your story of grace, that you may transform our hearts, minds, and lives through the power of your Holy Spirit. Fill us to overflowing with your love, that we may share it with others, and so invite them into your story of salvation. Give us the courage and strength to live as if your story matters to us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.