Puzzling Through, A Few More Thoughts

First, I want to thank everyone who was able to attend the District Conference on Saturday, November 4, 2023. Whether you were with us in person or in spirit, it was wonderful to spend some time in fellowship, sharing a meal and planting seeds for our future.

               I especially want to express my gratitude for our host church, Grand Blanc UMC, Pastor Brian, the United Women in Faith, and the support of all those who helped make our time together a blessing, including the tech support, music, clergy and laity who were part of the morning presentations, Worship Service and Business Session.

               As is usually the case with sharing a message, other thoughts come to mind just as we attempt to place one sermon to rest. During the Key Note Address, I shared that jigsaw puzzles were an analogy for the mystery of the Lord’s work.  I lifted up the story of Jacob and the ministry of Jesus as examples. 

               There are so many ways that God’s mystery is being revealed to us, changing our understanding of what it means to be Christians in today’s world.  I invite each of you to spend time exploring the way God’s presence with us unfolds in amazing and wondrous ways.

               Moses’ story begins with him being released into the Nile to escape Pharoah’s edict, and yet, when rescued by Pharoah’s daughter, he doesn’t become the next ruler of Egypt, but the Deliverer of Abraham’s descents. We are witnesses of his wilderness journey, and how God calls him to do more than watch over his father-in-law’s flock.

               Consider how David, Jesse’s youngest son and the one tasked to watch the sheep, is anointed king by Samuel. David’s story doesn’t begin in 1 Samuel 16, but in the Book of Ruth where we learn of his paternal great grandmothers. The way our Lord works is full of surprising and amazing turns that declare God is with us in all ways, at all times and in all things. 

               God’s greatest mystery isn’t that He sent His son to us for our salvation.  The greatest mystery isn’t that Jesus came to earth to be one of us, while sharing the Good News of what it means to be loved by God. The greatest mystery isn’t the parables our Savior shared, the miracles he performed or the sins he forgave. The greatest mystery isn’t the new covenant that our Savior brought to us during the Passover Meal. The greatest mystery isn’t that Jesus went to the cross so that you and I could be saved.

               All of these events and more lead us to the greatest mystery of the empty tomb, when our Lord declared that nothing would stop Him from His salvific acts for our lives.  We are called to share the significance of our Risen Savior and the ways that God has moved and is moving in our lives. 

               This is our task, our challenge, our duty and our call.  To spread the Good News of Jesus Christ our Lord, so that everyone will know why we are dedicated to being God’s instruments in and for one another as wee seek to accomplish all that the Lord requires of us.

               Persons received jigsaw pieces of a Michigan map puzzle made of Petosky stones, to remember our time together. I want each of the members of the East Winds District to know that the work we do for our Lord and Savior is holy work, marked by the stones we placing in our communities now and into the future.  May we all be blessed.  And Amen.

East Winds District