· Church Renewal

Right words, right time

By Gil Hanke

Last Saturday, I had a full day––an on-line commission board meeting from 8-10:30 a.m., followed at 11a.m. by a 3-hour-virtual “Prayers for Unity,” with about 300 men and women from the UMC, the Africa Methodist Episcopal Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

The board meeting and the Pan-Methodist meeting were outstanding and groundbreaking.

But, in truth, there was another event that opened the day and opened my heart.

It was a private moment––not earth shattering––but a moment that warmed my soul and set the stage.

For many years, I begin my days by reading a devotional from the Upper Room Disciplines and the accompanying Scripture. In the past month or so, I have had so much on my mind that I sometimes forgot to read the devotion. I made it up the following day. Saturday––with all that was going on––I made it a priority to begin with the word, a lesson, and a prayer.

These devotions follow the lectionary––only one verse: Psalm 78:1.

Marie A. Kane, the author, describes herself as “an Episcopal priest, historian, proud Godmother, and Texan residing in Maryland.” Her words were exactly what I needed: “Listen to my teachings . . .”

Her words were written 18 months ago, printed a year ago, and were perfect for that day.

“Indeed, when we stop to be still in God’s presence, we can recognize that all that we need is not on TV or our smartphone, but in the cross of Christ, calling us to a life of forgiveness, beauty and grace.”

May today be a great day, filled with forgiveness, beauty, and grace.

Gil Hanke, chief executive officer

General Commission on UM Men



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