I've reached an impasse with my sermon. This is one of those that is struggling to be born, and I haven't had the energy or the willpower to bring it into the world yet. I have two and a half pages, and a few thoughts. I know where I want it to go; just need to see if I can get it there or if God wants something else preached.
I'm looking at John 17 - the whole chapter. I'm struck by how many times during this last prayer Jesus prays "that they may be one as we are one." This oneness has a purpose: so that the world may know of God's love - it's not unity for unity's sake. It's not even about agreement - Jesus didn't pray that the disciples should agree or believe the same things...but that they might be one. That we may be one.
This is the nugget I'm trying to draw out. I'm using General Conference as an example of the apparent disunity of the UMC - the protests and fighting and lack of consensus about issues that deeply divide the church. But deep down...we are still one. We are all still in Christ. We may not understand it. We may not even like it. But we're one...and that means we need to act like it. It doesn't mean that suddenly everyone has to agree, but it means that we have to love our neighbors and each other, transcending disagreements, and look to Christ which binds us together. Perhaps I'll add a bit of Wesley's "A Catholic Spirit" in there.
Arg, but it just isn't coming! Fortunately, I have one more day...