Closing Devotion: Friday, May 13

General Conference
Closing Devotion
Friday, May 13, 6:20 PM
As You Go, Be Learning

**NOTE: This service is not being streamed live for those attending online.**


[chime from the singing bowl]
Bishop: And so, at the end of another day, we remember again the One who walks with us.
Jesus, thank you for your mercy.

[chime from the singing bowl]
Bishop: In the midst of disagreement, as we struggle with forming community, as we rejoice in relationships new and old, we remember the One whose love shapes us.
Jesus, thank you for your mercy.

[chime from the singing bowl]
Bishop: Gathered in this room, we stop the work … and remember the One whose mercy is wider, higher, deeper, and more abundant than we can imagine.
Jesus, thank you for your mercy.


Come Away From Rush and Hurry (tune: BEACH SPRING, vs. 1)


SCRIPTURE      Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.
And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax-collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’


Come Away From Rush and Hurry (tune: BEACH SPRING, vs. 2)


Hear these words from our Daily Prayer Guide, written by Bishop Sally Dyck:

As we go, we are called to learn God’s way of mercy. How do we learn mercy? In David Brooks’s book, Call to Character, he says brokenness or suffering is what makes people compassionate or merciful. Do we learn mercy through the experience of our own brokenness? Or do we become bitter victims? Learning mercy implies that we emerge from our brokenness not as victims but as people who care enough to work toward making sure that others not experience the same brokenness. Mercy often carries a justice element to it.

Why do I care that “all” means “all” in our church? Because I know what it’s like to be rejected by the church I love. While my “home” church denomination greatly shaped who I am and my faith, when God called me into ministry, that same church rejected my call! Now I’m a “born again” United Methodist in the sense that I want everyone to be received and accepted by a church that professes grace toward all. Countless people experience rejection, shunning, denial, and are made suspect in our churches and communities because of their race, color, sexual orientation, disability, economic and class differences—all aspects of being that persons have little or no control over. Maybe you’ve always been well-received, listened to, noticed, and encouraged. If so, learning mercy may prove difficult.

But more likely, you too may have had a wounding experience that has inflicted brokenness in your life. What is your point of brokenness and how does it motivate you to make sure that we don’t treat others like the righteous ones in Jesus’ day treated Matthew? (Bishop Sally Dyck)


Jesus calls us to learn a simple, yet difficult idea: God desires mercy, not sacrifice. Our Jewish ancestors have an ancient prayer practice that can help us. It is a whispered, repeated breath prayer. As you breathe in, whisper these words (in your own language): I desire mercy; and as you breathe out, whisper: not sacrifice.

At your own pace, pray these words. The singing bowl will call us back.

 And a second prayer, this one directly to God. As you breathe in: Through your mercy; as you breathe out: you have saved me.

Again pray at your own pace, and the bowl will call us back.


Bishop: Filled with gratitude for the overflowing gift of God’s mercy, we pray as Jesus taught us, each in our own heart language.


Come Away From Rush and Hurry (tune: BEACH SPRING, vs. 3)





Unless otherwise noted, all liturgical pieces are written by Laura Jaquith Bartlett, ©2016 The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music & Worship Arts.

Come Away From Rush and Hurry; words: Marva J. Dawn; tune: BEACH SPRING (attr. to B. F. White); found at #655 Worship and Rejoice.


Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata preaches during worship at the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Fla. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.


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