As I stood in a roomful of several thousand Methodists, I was struck by what unites us. In that moment, I was less enamored with how we are connected in theology or story. Instead, I was struck by the way that we are united by this shared question: And Are We Yet Alive? This is a question that has been asked by every General and Annual Conference since 1784. There’s something powerful about that. A shared question is a good place to begin as we seek to serve the God who calls us to serve, love and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Buried in that question are more questions: If there are parts of us that are not alive, what are we going to do about it? What does it mean to be alive? How can we live together in Christ?
These are the questions that bring us to Tampa for General Conference.
These are the questions that motivate the bulk of legislation.
These are the questions that lead us to debate, discuss and decide.
There will be plenty of things in these next 10 days that separate us. Many delegates and special interest groups will be tempted to dismiss, denigrate and dominate those with whom they disagree. That’s why this song is so important. We may have different notions of what it means to be alive, but if we can see each other’s face and remember that they too are motivated by the same question … that they too share in the same love … then maybe we can show the almighty grace of Jesus Christ in our work with one another.
And are we yet alive and see each other’s face?
Glory and thanks to Jesus give for his almighty grace.
The Rev. Mike Baughman is an ordained elder and special contributor to The United Methodist Reporter through the first half of General Conference 2012.