By Beth Ferguson, Lay Leader and Member to the Annual Conference.
Clap your hands, all you people!
Shout joyfully to God with a joyous shout!
2 Because the Lord Most High is awesome,
he is the great king of the whole world.
3 He subdues the nations under us,
subdues all people beneath our feet.
4 He chooses our inheritance for us:
the heights of Jacob, which he loves. Selah
5 God has gone up with a joyous shout—
the Lord with the blast of the ram’s horn.
6 Sing praises to God! Sing praises!
Sing praises to our king! Sing praises
7 because God is king of the whole world!
Sing praises with a song of instruction![a]
8 God is king over the nations.
God sits on his holy throne.
9 The leaders of all people are gathered
with the people of Abraham’s God
because the earth’s guardians belong to God;
God is exalted beyond all.
Psalm 47, Common English Bible
God is in control, not just of our corner of the world, not just of Christians, but of the whole world. God is creator and redeemer and God’s grace welcomes everyone.
Jesus came to the earth to live among us and show us a better way, a way to love God and one another. Jesus taught and prayed and preached as he healed and cared for all he met. He told the disciples: “19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age” (Matt:28:19-20).
Then he ascended into heaven. This Psalm refers to God going up, other versions say God ascended, and there was a joyous shout. After the ascension of Jesus, the disciples waited and worried about the promise that Jesus had made to send them an advocate until on Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended upon them and they were energized to preach the gospel and bring thousands to Christ. We still can shout with joy, for we, too, have the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us and bring us hope.
We long for the day when the leaders of all nations can sit together singing praises to God because God is the king of the whole earth.
A Prayer from the Extended Cabinet
By Rev. Jill Colley-Robinson, Vermont District Superintendent
Couldn’t you stay just a bit longer?
Couldn’t you teach us more about the scriptures?
There is so much in this life that we still do not understand.
Couldn’t you sit down to one more meal with us,
keeping us company while we keep our distance from others?
Couldn’t you tell us one more time about forgiveness —
how it changes everything and sets us free?
Couldn’t you hold off on sending the promised power?
We want you here with us.
We know you.
We need you.
Are you sure you want us, with all of our inadequacies,
to be your witnesses?
If indeed we must be your witnesses
stay, and show us more of what you intend.
Why does it always feel like there is not enough time —
like we should have known then what we know now and made different choices?
….. These are yesterday’s questions — even last night’s desperate requests.
But in the light of today, in the most graceful way imaginable,
you lift our doubts and longings and uncertainties
and take them with you.
We are unburdened and ready, just as you hoped.
If in the future the old ache creeps back in, as it invariably does,
help us to once again embrace today’s final, miraculous gesture
as we lift our faces to the stunning spring sky —
Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift.