Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Report from the Valley of Maggie

When I think about Lake Junaluska, my thoughts are always filled with nostalgia and joy. Last week I was blessed to come to the Lake for the United Methodist Women Spiritual Growth Retreat. I had a wonderful time with the ladies from the church I serve, Friendship UMC in Statesville. We laughed, sat and porch-rocked, had meals together and worshiped in Stuart Auditorium. I also saw women from my home church, Oak Hill UMC and from churches I served in the past years. 

It is such a happiness to see old friends and to reminisce about the times we have shared together. It seems funny to me that when I look back, I only see the good times. If there were times not so good…they have faded from my heart. That is the power of grace in our lives. God’s abiding grace keeps the good and removes the bad. I am glad for that.

One thing Rev. Toni Ruth Smith spoke about last week is our life’s work. She said that learning to love like God does...takes a lifetime. As she mentioned, that is the Wesleyan theology of sanctifying grace. Rev. Smith reminded us that we must not be so hard on ourselves when we realize that we have not yet reached that pinnacle of perfection, when we see ourselves breaking a commandment, when we erroneously compare ourselves to some culturally-determined ideal. We must remember she said…we have a work of a lifetime to get it right. God’s amazing grace is how we get there, because we cannot get there on our own.

This week, I am back to Lake Junaluska for annual conference. Ed and I walked around the Lake today dodging the goose poop, talking, and just enjoying the day and each other. It is such a good thing to have a bit of time to do just those kinds of simple things before the hubbub of conference begins "in earnest," as Bishop Goodpaster described it,  tomorrow morning…very early for me (7am).

This year we are tasked with selecting our members to the General Conference 2016. I would like to go to that conference, but alas…I’m not popular enough to get elected. The story of my life! I tried out to be a cheerleader once…same story.  

Best of all, God is with us.

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