Nov. 7—24th Sunday after Pentecost/All Saints Sunday—Episcopal Fund
A Moment for Mission
“By day the Lord commands his faithful love; by night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. … Hope in God!” — Psalm 42:8, 11b, CEB
Early one morning last Christmas, Ken and I walked a path along a ridge that overlooks the town near where I grew up. Overnight, a light snow had fallen, and no one had walked on the path. However, we saw a ton of animal tracks.
Sometimes, it looked as if the same species was going side by side, and sometimes it looked like they were weaving in and out. The whole path was covered in different animal tracks, most likely mice, rats, coyotes, dogs and cats. We never actually saw any animals, but we followed along their tracks!
All Saints Day is a good time to think about people who have left tracks for us. I’m reminded of something Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said: “Whatever you choose to do, leave tracks, and that means: don’t do just for yourself because in the end it’s not going to be fully satisfying. I think you will want to leave the world a little better for your having lived.”
Leaving tracks seems like what “saints” do, and I use that term in the broadest New Testament sense. Saints simply follow Jesus in their lives and contexts based on their relationship with Jesus. Saints “leave tracks” for the rest of us to follow, learn from and give direction in our lives. Some of those who leave tracks for us literally walk beside us, and others are people in history who inspire us.
Adapted from “Bishop’s Monday Message: Leave Tracks,” Bishop Sally Dyck, Northern Illinois Annual Conference website, Oct. 26, 2020. Used by permission.
Loving God, thank you for your constant presence, guiding and sustaining us. Bless our bishops as they lead the church in mission and ministry around the world. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost — God of endless generosity, we lift our offerings to you, fully knowing our gifts fall short when compared with the poor widow Jesus saw who gave two small coins in her temple offering. We know that until we have experienced a moment of that kind of trust, gratitude, and sacrifice, we don’t know the heights of joy that generosity can bring us. Until that time, grow our hearts in giving and in compassion for those our offerings will touch and bless. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen. (Mark 12:38-44)
Postponed by COVID-19 from July 2020 to November 10-12, 2021, United Methodist Jurisdictional Conferences are scheduled for next week. Along with other responsibilities, these important gatherings determine future episcopal leadership for The United Methodist Church.
As of November 2020 (when this copy was written), the U.S. Jurisdictional Conferences are expected to elect 11 to 14 bishops for 46 episcopal areas. The number will depend on mandatory retirements and possible voluntary early retirements in three of the five jurisdictions. The central conferences are expected to elect eight bishops: four in Africa, two in Europe and two in the Philippines.
Eighteen centuries ago, the apostle Paul wrote his first letter to young Timothy. “Whoever aspires to the office of bishop,” he said, “desires a noble task” (1 Timothy 3:1, NRSV). His words are just as true today.
Through United Methodist support of the Episcopal Fund, our bishops are better equipped to serve around the world. Thank you!