“Beloved, let us love one another!” That plea from 1 John 4:7 was a touchstone of our time together at Annual Sessions this past weekend. I felt that call to genuine, deep, grace-filled, challenging, inspiring, Christ-like love to be alive and among us in the movement of the Spirit as we gathered.
This focus of our conferenced acknowledged that love is not an abstract or syrupy thing, but a practice of discipleship that calls us into transformation. Such love is only possible because God first loves us, and God’s love is enough for all. I appreciated the ways our preachers, speakers, and those sharing stories wove together the personal, communal, structural, and societal ways we are called to love one another. Our worship called and inspired me to believe in the abundance of God’s love for myself and others, to practice radical love, and to let live cast out fear. I heard honest confession of the ways in which we too often have fallen short of that love, but I also heard myriad examples of that loved lived out in familial healing, community partnerships, congregational dynamics, powerful prayers, and more ways. While we have not yet reached the fullest expression of God’s love toward, it is clear that our conference is following Jesus into this call to love as God has loved us.
I shared with my congregation recently that when I was invited to serve for another term on MLT, I weighed the decision seriously; it is not always easy to find the space to give this work the time, energy, prayer, care, and attention I feel it deserves. I found, though, that I just couldn’t pass up the chance to be as involved as possible in the exciting things I believe the Holy Spirit is doing in and through IMMC right now. Our energized and capable conference staff, the active leadership teams, the focus on Growing Our Intercultural Witness, the dynamic work and connections of congregations, and so much more feel like ways that God is working through our conference to grow the Reign of Love among us. My prayer is that you too will witness and feel called further into IMMC’s convicting, Christ-centered efforts to “love one another!”
– Naomi Yoder, MLT Secretary