May all the gifts and benefits that come from God our Father, and the Master, Jesus Christ, be yours. Every time I think of you—and I think of you often!—I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There is no end to what has happened in you—it is beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.
1 Corinthians 1:3-6 (The Message)
I often think of that question you used to hear in Christian circles – “Could you be convicted of being a Christian in a court of law?” Essentially – does your life show any evidence of having Christ in it? If so, what proof would there be? Changes? More love? More peace? More sharing in your life? As a recovering attorney, that question always resonated with me.
In these pandemic times – would there be more or less evidence of the work of God in our lives? Surprisingly, I see more evidence in my own. I have needed more time with God than ever before to keep anxiety at bay (or at least reduced!) and to keep moving through the chaos that has been our world. I have needed to lean in to the relationships I have with other Christians to hear their joys and concerns, so I know I am still a part of community. I have shared more of my resources than probably ever before, because the needs of the world have multiplied dramatically.
As I have listened to charge conferences, District Conference, and even Annual Conference, and have heard stories of challenge and innovation; of the movement of the Spirit in new and different ways, as well as in resilient ways. I have heard that many of our churches are seeing a faithful core who are leading, not just in spite of the present challenging circumstances – but even thriving and doing a ‘new thing in Christ’. I am so encouraged by our clergy resilience, our leadership at work, our faithful stewardship. God’s gifts are showing up all over the place, when we need to see it the most!
This month, we welcome 21 churches of the Winchester District to reside for a time with our Arlington churches. These churches might be familiar, as they are mostly the western part of Loudoun County, which is already well in the Arlington District geography. Their District Superintendent will serve as the new Director of Connectional Ministry, serving at the Conference office, so they will be hanging out with us until June, at which time further decisions will be made. Please welcome them in any meetings you that you see them!
The evidence of God is all around us and the evidence of Christ is within each of us – share that good news this season, in a world that does not have enough good news! May God bless your time of Thanksgiving!