UMC: The Importance of Memory

Years ago, Henri Nouwen was asked to name the key problem in the spiritual life.  He responded, “Amnesia.”  He went on to describe the deformative effects of forgetfullness, and to point out how often the word ‘remember’ is used Scripture.

As the days of General Conference draw near, there is nothing more important to pray for than that the delegates ‘remember’ crucial matters as they discuss and decide relative to the future of the UMC.  It begins in scriptural memory, and I would note the following…

(1) That we are Gospel people, hanging all the law and the prophets on the two great commandments–to love God and to love others.  Love is “the more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31).

(2) That the fruit of the Spirit is the means we use in assessing whether our attitudes and actions represent the Gospel.

(3) That making disciples is our mission, forming people who live the two great commandments, anchoring their character and conduct in the holiness of heart and life (“perfection in love”) which results from these two commandments.

(4) That the Church is called to bear witness to this love through a grace-based message that is rooted in mercy offered to all–no exceptions.

If the UMC can be a denomination that remembers these things, we will remain a church God will bless and use for the transformation of the world.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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