This morning, I find myself gathering with brothers and sisters preparing for General and Jurisdictional conferences. We are retreating to get to know one another better and to prepare our hearts and minds for the journey.The first thing we started with today was to ask about where God has been present in history. Our first instinct was to think about times and acts of reconciliation, love, compassion, and growth in knowledge.
But then our leader asked: what about conflict? Does God only act to bring blessing, or does God also shake things up?
The scriptures are FULL of conflict and tension… Between siblings, internal wrestling, prophets vs kings, Jesus vs the pharisees, Jews vs Christians, insiders and outsiders, clean and unclean, power and poverty, old ways and new ways… Sometimes that conflict is a result of our fallen nature… But sometimes, God is the instigator. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is moving. Sometimes chaos is introduced into our feeble attempts at order in order to move us back to faithfulness.
The hardest question we are going to face as the people of God is discerning what conflicts are based in our failings/sins/brokenness and which ones are prompted by God calling us to different ways. When are we speaking a prophetic word, and when are we only justifying our preconceived notions. When is the Holy Spirit moving and when are we falling into the base ways of the world.
May God grant us wisdom… And may the Holy Spirit keep moving among us.