Closing Devotion: Thursday, May 19

General Conference
Closing Devotion
Thursday, May 19, 6:10 PM
Go to the Lost Sheep



Proclaim this good news to all people:
Jesus Christ is the hope of the world! [spoken in your first language]
To the helpless and the hopeless of our communities, proclaim this news:
Jesus Christ is the hope of the world! [spoken in your first language]
To the weary United Methodists in this room, proclaim this news:
Jesus Christ is the hope of the world! [spoken in your first language]
To anyone who is alienated and separated from the flock, proclaim this news:
Jesus Christ is the hope of the world! [spoken in your first language]
To all those who are lost sheep, proclaim this news:
Jesus Christ is the hope of the world! [spoken in your first language]
Let your actions proclaim good news to all people:
Jesus Christ is the hope of the world! [spoken in your first language]


Hope of the World (tune: VICAR)

Hope of the world, thou Christ of great compassion:
speak to our fearful hearts by conflict rent;
save us, thy people, from consuming passion,
who by our own false hopes and aims are spent.

Hope of the world, God’s gift from highest heaven,
bringing to hungry souls the bread of life:
still let thy Spirit unto us be given
to heal earth’s wounds and end our bitter strife.


SCRIPTURE       Matthew 10:5-15

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.


All sing: Hope of the world, afoot on dusty highways,
showing to wandering souls the path of light:
walk thou beside us lest the tempting byways
lure us away from thee to endless night.


Hear these words from our Daily Prayer Guide, written by Bishop John Yambasu:

Jesus forbids his disciples to preach to Gentiles and Samaritans and directs them to the Jews. Why would he give such a racist instruction?

Being a Jew himself, Jesus may have desired that the Jews first receive the message of God’s reign. Or perhaps Jesus realizes that the strengths and weaknesses of his young disciple team would preclude their venturing into risky territory. Preaching to Gentiles and Samaritans required particular qualities and skills with which the disciples were not fully equipped.

Like all good teachers, Jesus knows that effective ministry requires appropriate planning for maximum impact. So maybe he decides to start from the known (Jews) and later venture into the unknown and more challenging territory of the Gentiles and Samaritans.

And as a strategist, Jesus knows that effective ministry demands that he prioritize his priorities. Biting off too much can be disastrous. Starting small with limited objectives can offer an ideal solution. So he decides to focus on Galilee, a well-known terrain.

Notice that just as Jesus is specific in the choice of place, so also he mentions specific objectives: Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. The disciples are to focus on the helpless and hopeless in society. In Jesus’ realm, these people top the list of Jesus’ priorities. Jesus’ priorities and focus for ministry have not changed. Nor has his charge to us. Anything less is unacceptable. (Bishop John Yambasu)


All sing: Hope of the world, who by thy cross didst save us
from death and deep despair, from sin and guilt:
we render back the love thy mercy gave us;
take thou our lives and use them as thou wilt.

Thanksgiving for the Departed


Bishop Brown:
Hope of the world,
we thank you for sending your disciples long ago
and still today
to proclaim the good news, cure the sick,
raise the dead, cleanse the lepers
and cast out demons.

Thank you, O God, for disciples called and sent.
In them, we see your reign draw near.

Bishop Brown:
Thank you especially for the life and witness of these disciples
we are about to name before you:
bishops, their spouses,
Judicial Council members, delegates-elect,
known and loved by many of us.

Thank you, O God, for disciples called and sent.
In them, we have seen your reign draw near.


Bishop Brown:
In faith, in love, in hope, we lift up these disciples to you, O God.
Empower us to honor their witness through our own discipleship,
in Christ’s name.

All sing: Hope of the world, O Christ, o’er death victorious,
who by this sign didst conquer grief and pain:
we would be faithful to thy gospel glorious;
thou art our Lord! Thou dost forever reign!


[in your first language]



We All Are One in Mission (tune: KUORTANE)






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

The Blessing was written by the Wild Goose Resource Group, in 50 Great Prayers from the Iona Community, © 2009.

Hope of the World; words: Georgia Harkness; tune: VICAR, V. Earle Copes; found at #178 United Methodist Hymnal. Words © 1954, renewed 1982 The Hymn Society of America, music © 1963 Abingdon Press.

We All Are One in Mission; words: Rusty Edwards; tune: KUORTANE, Finnish folk melody; found at #2243 The Faith We Sing. Words © 1986 Hope Publishing Company.


Rosie Rios holds an electronic candle as delegates are encouraged to “let your light shine before others,” at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Rios, a delegate from the California-Pacific Conference, was listening to a presentation about the denomination’s Four Areas of Focus ministry priorities. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.


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