By Meghan Hatcher
Many in the United Methodist Church describe this present moment in the denomination as Holy Saturday. I agree. The tomb is too dark and the stone is too heavy, not yet rolled away to reveal new life. The General Conference of the UMC failed gravely this week and in so doing left catastrophe in its wake. If I had the words for it, there is so much I could say about this particular moment and the decades of anguish and pain leading up to it. But what I will focus on in these paragraphs is how the tomb of this Holy Saturday still contains Christ. If I, and my LGBTQ+ siblings, are inside the tomb at least it is good to know that Christ is in here with us.
I have felt for at least the last two years that the work to which I am called will take place outside the typical United Methodist local church. I have felt pissed off and disappointed more times than I can count by this institution. It feels like change and innovation here is so glacially slow and I don’t know how to wait any longer or if I want to do so. BUT, and this is a huge but, I love this place. I love our theology of grace that invites people into the fullness of relationship with Jesus Christ, messiness and all. I love how our doctrines propel people to not just know what is good, but to do what is good as the hands and feet of Christ, seeking to love God and neighbor. I love that we are called into deep relationships with one another because being a follower of Christ demands that we be in covenant community together. I don’t know much else, but what I can say this week is that I am still Wesleyan.
And I believe that I am an innovator and I am called to pursue justice and shalom for all people. I feel called to use the lenses God has given me through my Wesleyan faith and training in community engagement to do a new thing called “church.” That’s what The Clay Jar Project storytelling ministry work is — a new expression of what the “church” can be. It’s grounded in intentional, invitational theology and provides a new way of engaging one’s faith, surrounded by people sojourning together toward deeper connection with God, self and others. I thank God for the call and the opportunity to pursue this kind of work, most especially in moments of Holy Saturday. I pray that together the church, in whatever shape it takes, will muster the strength, courage and bravery to roll away the stone of oppression from the tomb’s opening to reveal what is infinitely better, completely good, and finally more like God — to reveal the new life inside. May it be so.