Worship recognizes world and everybody in it
- May 6, 2000 GC-027
Worship recognizes �world and everybody in it�
CLEVELAND (UMNS) � Bishop Charles W. Jordan called on United Methodists to
carry out God�s mission of transforming the "The World and Everybody in It"
in his sermon during the General Conference�s May 6 worship service.
"God loves the world and everyone in it," said Jordan, who leads the United
Methodist Church�s Iowa Area.
Bishop Walter Klaiber of Germany personified the church�s global mission
when he gave the opening prayer, translated from Spanish, in English with a
German accent. The service opened another day of business for the 992
delegates, who have come from around the world to the church�s top
legislative assembly. General Conference ends May 12.
Jordan told of being at a meeting where a computer ticked off the rising
toll of children who died of preventable causes during the session. Last to
leave, the bishop turned off the computer, but he knew that did not stop the
In the United States, he said, 35 million people live in poverty, and the
gap between rich and poor is growing. Matthew 25 reminds Christians that
Jesus identified with "the least," Jordan said. He challenged the delegates
to commit themselves to quality of life for all, including the least.
"God�s gift of love is a gift of transformation," Jordan said. Biblical
justice for the poor does not just offer equity before the law but demands
new opportunity, he said.
He speculated about rewriting the story of the rich young man who came to
Jesus and was told to sell all his possessions and give the money to the
poor. The young man turned away and left, according to the Bible. However,
Jordan said he would like to think the man gave the matter careful thought
and came running back, begging Jesus to let him stay so that he could grow
in spirit. All people need to walk with Jesus to develop their spiritual
power, the bishop said.
Jordan told of his paternal grandparents, who were born and raised in
slavery. When the news of emancipation reached them, Jordan�s grandfather
rushed to the field where his wife was picking cotton. "We�re free," he told
her, and she went on working. "We�re free," he said again, and she fell down
in the field, sobbing as she realized what he was saying. He offered his
hand to help her up, but she said no, he should get down on his knees with
her and they should pray that they would use their new freedom well.
"Let us give thanks," Jordan said, "for this gift of God�s love." He urged
the delegates to pray for strength and guidance to use it well.
A mass youth choir provided music during the worship service. The group was
composed of five choirs: Cantemos, sponsored by the North Georgia Annual
Conference Council on Ministries; St. Luke�s United Methodist Church Youth
Choir, Houston; Boyz of Gospel, Bennettsville, S.C.; Mansfield (Ohio)
District Youth Choir; and Ben Hill United Methodist Church Youth Choir,
Atlanta. They were coordinated by Sid Davis of Houston and the Rev. Barbara
Day Miller of the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta.
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-- Joretta Purdue
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