today was the last annual meeting of the Wyoming Conference United Methodist Women. a bitter sweet day for me -- and for many. i'll save that reflection for another time.
my conference "job" (at least until the end of the year) is Spiritual Growth. i provided opening worship this morning for our final meeting.
below is a copy of the devotions i prepared. quite fitting for today. i share them with you - in hopes that they inspire you .
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
This morning’s scripture tells us that we will not be separated from the love of God, and because of that we can not be separated from each other. I ran across this and felt it spoke to us as United Methodist Women, and was important to us today.
What We Can Learn From Geese
1. As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for others behind it. There is 71% more flying range in V-formation than in flying alone. Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of purpose can get there more quickly.
2. Whenever a goose flies out of formation, it feels drag and tries to get back into position. Lesson: It’s harder to do something alone than when we all work together.
3. When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies at the head. Lesson: Shared leadership and interdependence give us each a chance to lead as well as an opportunity to rest.
4. The geese flying in the rear of the flock honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. Lesson: Encouragement is motivating. We need to make sure that all our honking is encouraging and not discouraging.
5. When a goose gets sick or wounded and falls back, another goose falls out and stays with it until it revives or dies. Then they will catch up or join another flock. Lesson: We may all need help from time to time. We should stand by our friends in difficult times.
If a goose gets separated from its flock it can join another flock. The new flock accepts the new member and makes room for him – no questions asked.
It seems to me that we can learn a lot from these geese. We are gathered here today as members of a flock. By the time our day is over our flock will be separated and we will each join a new flock – where they will make room for us, and accept us. We may choose to be the goose in the back that honks and encourages, or we may choose to be one of the geese that rotates in and out of leadership. No matter what role we choose, one thing will not change – we are United Methodist Women, and we will always be connected.
Would you please join me in singing hymn #593 – Here I Am Lord? We are each a member of a special flock, and God is calling all of us to be His hands and feet.
I’d like to close with some lyrics to a song. You will have the chance to hear the song a bit later, and I encourage you to listen closely to the words. The song is from the musical “Wicked” and it is called “For Good”. Many of you know my husband Paul – his all-time favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz, and Wicked is one of his favorite musicals – I had been trying to find a song that would fit as background music for a slide show for this year’s School of Mission. He offered the song, but I had not heard it before. He played it for me and I fell in love with it. Those of you who were at school this year may remember it. It will accompany the slide show we will see later too.
The words are quite fitting for today – I’d like to leave you with a small part of them:
I'VE HEARD IT SAID THAT PEOPLE COME INTO OUR LIVES FOR A REASON
BRINGING SOMETHING WE MUST LEARN
WE ARE LED TO THOSE WHO HELP US MOST TO GROW IF WE LET THEM
AND WE HELP THEM IN RETURN
WELL, I DON'T KNOW IF I BELIEVE THAT'S TRUE
BUT I KNOW I'M WHO I AM TODAY
BECAUSE I KNEW YOU...
I HAVE BEEN CHANGED FOR GOOD …
IT WELL MAY BE THAT WE WILL NEVER MEET AGAIN IN THIS LIFETIME
SO LET ME SAY BEFORE WE PART SO MUCH OF ME IS MADE OF WHAT I LEARNED FROM YOU
YOU'LL BE WITH ME LIKE A HANDPRINT ON MY HEART
AND NOW WHATEVER WAY OUR STORIES END I KNOW YOU HAVE RE-WRITTEN MINE BY BEING MY FRIEND...
WHO CAN SAY IF I'VE BEEN CHANGED FOR THE BETTER?
BUT BECAUSE I KNEW YOU...
I HAVE BEEN CHANGED FOR GOOD …
Thank you to you the members of the Wyoming Conference, because of you I have been changed for good.