Closing Devotion: Thursday, May 12

General Conference
Closing Devotion
Thursday, May 12, 6:20 PM
Going Under Authority

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

 

Gathering

[chime from the singing bowl]
Bishop: It’s been a long day. We are weary. It’s time once more to center our hearts on Jesus Christ, source of all energy.
Jesus, we come to you.

[chime from the singing bowl]
Bishop: It’s been a long day. We are hungry. It’s time once more to center our souls on Jesus Christ, who offers us sustenance.
Jesus, we come to you.

[chime from the singing bowl]
Bishop: It’s been a long day. We are not all in agreement about the direction of our Church. It’s time once more to center our wills on Jesus Christ, the one true authority.
Jesus, we come to you.

OPENING SONG

Somlandela

Proclaiming

SCRIPTURE      Matthew 8:5-13

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and cure him.’ The centurion answered, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this”, and the slave does it.’ When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.’ And the servant was healed in that hour.

SUNG RESPONSE

I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
no turning back, no turning back.

A REFLECTION FROM THE GC PRAYER GUIDE

Hear these words from our Daily Prayer Guide, written by Bishop Christian Alsted:

I sit in the dentist’s chair; she is about to perform a root canal treatment. I am anesthetized, and the dentist begins. I know she is a trained professional who knows how to perform the procedure, but suddenly panic hits. What if the anesthesia doesn’t work? What if the dentist hits a nerve and sends me through the roof? That’s when I realize how hard it is to let go of control.

The serious illness of a beloved servant has taken a Roman centurion to the place where control ends and faith begins. The centurion knew how to use the power of authority, the power of fear, the power of violence, and the power of death. He knew his soldiers would obey his every command. But when it comes to the illness of his trusted servant, his power is powerless. That’s when he turns to Jesus. The centurion decides to humble himself and submit to a greater authority, acknowledging his unworthiness to ask Jesus for anything. Jesus surprisingly lifts up the humble submissive faith of the centurion. And he names it: the strongest faith he has seen so far.

As we begin General Conference, this passage serves as a wonderful reminder to let go of every desire for power and control and instead receive another kind of authority from Christ based on prayer, humility, and forgiveness. If we desire to follow Christ and to walk under his authority, we let go of control and submit ourselves to him, trusting that he knows what he is doing. (Bishop Christian Alsted)

SUNG RESPONSE

I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
no turning back, no turning back.

Thanksgiving

We are invited to join together in this prayer of thanksgiving with eyes wide open, heads lifted, and hearts full of joy. The bishop will lead us, and our response each time is “Hallelujah!”

Bishop: God, we are not you.
Hallelujah!
We do not have your authority, but you have given us the gift of One whose authority is true and sure.
Hallelujah!
As we go forth from this room today, we are grateful for the opportunity to submit to the authority of Jesus Christ.
Hallelujah!
God, we pray that you will guide us to joyful obedience to Christ’s gospel call on our lives.
Hallelujah!
With grateful hearts, we will follow you through this General Conference and throughout all our days.
Hallelujah!

THE LORD’S PRAYER

[pray aloud in your first language]

Sending

We will follow, we will follow Jesus.
We will follow, we will follow him.
We will follow, we will follow Jesus.
Wherever he leads us we will follow.

BENEDICTION

Bishop:
Go now in obedience to the authority of Jesus Christ.
Go now, knowing that God can be trusted to guide your steps out of this place, and to guard your sleep through the night.
Go now, and allow the Holy Spirit to bring you back tomorrow into continued faithfulness, carried on the wings of love. Amen.

 

****************

Acknowledgements:

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

Somlandela; trad. Zulu; found at #3160 Worship & Song.

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus; found at #2129 The Faith We Sing.

Photo:

The National Choir of Côte d’Ivoire sings during worship at the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Fla. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.

 

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