I didn’t want to go to the installation of Dee Williamston as the Salina District Superintendent on the afternoon of Sunday, July 27, 2014. I had several dubious reasons: the drive to Clay Center; the interruption of my Sunday afternoon nap; and the loss of an otherwise free afternoon. I also had two excellent reasons: the 8:15 am worship service and the 10:30 am worship service here at First United Methodist Church. I had already been to church twice, why did I need to go again. But I went. I went because Dee is a friend and I wanted be part of warmly welcoming her to the district. But I should have had another, far more important reason for going. I should have been going because worship is a means of grace.
In the United Methodist tradition, we often use the term the “means of grace.” John Wesley understood the “means of grace” to refer to “outward signs, words, or actions, ordained of God, and appointed for this end, to be the ordinary channels whereby he might convey” grace to human beings.* The means of grace, therefore, are not the only ways God can bless us, but they are the ways by which God is most often at work.
I went, reluctantly, and I was abundantly blessed. (Thankfully, God’s ability to act in the world wasn’t limited by my bad attitude). It’s always good to receive Holy Communion (another means of grace), but I think I was most blessed by the preaching (still another means of grace). Our new District Superintendent can preach (our previous one could too). And through her skilled preaching God poured out abundant grace upon me and showed me the way by which I need to move forward.
I know that it’s not always easy to make it worship on Sunday morning. My prayer is that as we gather together to pray, to sing, to read scripture, to hear the word proclaimed and to celebrate the sacraments you will be blessed with the knowledge of God’s presence and enlivened by God’s grace. I would love to hear your stories.
*John Wesley’s sermon on the means of grace can be found here: http://goo.gl/eAdnJN