Day Eleven, Saturday, May 30, 2015

“Share Your Story”

In the future, your children will ask you,
“What is the meaning of the laws, the regulations,
and the case laws that the Lord our God commanded you?”
tell them: “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt.
But the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.”

– Deuteronomy 6: 20-21 (CEB)

Stories are powerful transmitters of identity and purpose. When God’s people were preparing to cross into the Promised Land, Moses reminded them of God’s laws, but he also reminded them of the story of which they were a part. Moses understood that the story was essential to their identity and was the foundation for the particular pattern of devotion to God that was to order their lives in their new home. When someone asked, “Why do we do these things? Why do we live this way?” God’s people were not charged with providing theological arguments, but rather with telling the story of God’s saving power. A story that they themselves had experienced.

Over the last several days, the Indiana Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church has been conducting church business, but we have also been celebrating and sharing our stories. We have lifted up the many ways that Indiana United Methodists have experienced and are participating in the story of God’s salvation. Our part of this story sustains, challenges, encourages, infuriates, inspires, and equips us. It shapes our identities as individuals and as a community of faith. It provides a foundation for the particular pattern of devotion to God that is to order our lives.

But we are going home to church families who have not heard these stories over the last several days. We are going home to people - in our churches, our neighborhoods, our families – who have not heard the story of God’s saving grace at all, let alone our unique Indiana United Methodist part of it. It is our calling and our sacred responsibility to share our stories. Share the stories of this Indiana Annual Conference. Share the story of our experiences of United Methodism in this time and place. Most importantly, share your story of God’s salvation. When someone asks, “Why do we do these things? Why do we live this way?”, you need not provide a detailed theological argument. You need only tell your story. How has God acted in your life? What is your response to God’s salvation?

Prayer

Almighty and Grace-filled God, you look on your world with love, deeply desiring to set us free from whatever enslaves us. We give you thanks for the many ways that you have liberated us. Bless the sharing of our stories and our work during this Annual Conference, that we may feel better-equipped and encouraged for the journey ahead. Loosen our tongues and set fire to our hearts, that we may boldly share our stories of your saving grace with the people and communities to which we are returning. Empower us to carry these stories to every corner of the state, so that all people may hear of your salvation and seek to share in your story. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.