“Trust the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek God’s will in all you do and God will show you which path to take.
Don’t be impressed with you own understanding.”
Dear Clergy Colleagues and the Good People of the Alabama-West Florida Conference,
May the Lord be with you! The Extended Cabinet has spent the day together in worship, prayer, Holy Communion, and holy conversation. Along the way, we have shared ministry glory sightings and celebrated the fruits of shared ministry, which includes a continued increase in giving to our connectional ministries over 2015. We have fielded emails, texts, and phone calls around the presidential election. Social media is filled with all kinds of opinions ranging from great joy to pain and wounded spirits. I know and have been with people this day who are really struggling. My heart hurts because of where we find ourselves this night. Yet, I remember these words from a wise pastor who shared them with me many years ago, “David, as much as your heart hurts tonight, you cannot begin to imagine how the heart of God hurts.”
My encouragement to you this day is that we all don’t agree; yet we are called to love one another. Church people, we are called to a message that is higher than an election. In the words of my colleague, Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, “the eagle never flies higher than the cross. Our nation’s politics do not supersede the work of God or the Holy Spirit”.
As your bishop, I encourage you to stay focused on uniting ourselves in faith, loving God, and loving all people. Reach out to those who are different from you. Reach out to those who need the love and touch of Jesus. To be frank with you, it is a great time to be the Church, and we need to be the Apostolic Church. This Sunday, be in worship, and pastors preach about this great hope found in Christ.
I truly believe the best is yet to come!
Amen and Amen!
Bishop David Graves