Reclaim the Flame
By Pam Ekey
Rev. Charity Goodwin called on the Missouri Annual Conference to reclaim the power of the Holy Spirit during the opening worship service June 9. “We need to reclaim the flame so that we are emotionally mature as well as spiritually mature,” she said. “We need to reclaim the flame so we quit talking about what we cannot do but focus on what we can do.”
Goodwin used the story of Mary, Martha and Jesus in Luke 10 as a guide for how to United Methodists need to incorporate mind, hands and spirit or heart in theology and ministry. Especially, we need to reclaim the Holy Spirit. “We were the original holy rollers,” she said, “Let’s reclaim that.”
Martha embodies the ministry of hospitality, Goodwin said. When Martha invites Jesus to her home, she probably didn’t know how many people would come with him. It may have included the disciples or even the 72 persons who had been sent out to preach in the countryside. She became overwhelmed by her ministry. Martha was overwhelmed by her gifts of love and hospitality.
Goodwin said she recognized herself in Martha. “For too long I thought that doing more was the way to do hospitality and I was overwhelmed,” she said. A friend helped her to understand love as a gift of prevenient grace, offered without asking or earning it.
Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. She surrenders who she is at the feet of Jesus. She chose to respond with her heart, to absorb Jesus’ grace.
Growing in grace is like sitting at a reflecting pool. As we grow, we begin to see how we look like Jesus. We need to learn to balance the gifts of hands, mind, and spirit. Mary was with Jesus. Martha was for Jesus, Goodwin said. Mary and Martha are often pitted against each other, but we need both.
“We need to sit down at the feet of Jesus and let the Lord minister to us,” she said. “Only when we have received the love of Christ can we serve.” Unless integrate our emotions and heart into the way we lie, we will flounder. We need to balance thinking, behaving and doing, she said.