response: May/June 2021

Responsively Yours: Believe It!

Responsively Yours: Believe It!

In the first chapter of 2 Timothy, Paul reminds Timothy of his reasons to believe, of the depth of the relationship between them and of the legacy of faith he received from his mother and grandmother. He urges Timothy to be powerful, loving and disciplined. Paul is saying: your authentic faith is strong, and God’s gifts to you continue. Believe it!

How appropriate these admonitions are for United Methodist Women in these times! United Methodist Women, remember the power of the creative, supportive fellowship that characterizes our structure. It is strong. Believe it! Remember the power of the Gospel, the fact of God’s love for you, for me, for every person we encounter and for the world. Believe it. Remember the call of God to do justice and love mercy, to care for the sick, the prisoner, the oppressed: and to stand for justice. Believe it. Remember the history of faith and action in which we stand—our foremothers crossed boundaries, innovated, raised funds, started over, started over again and persisted in spreading God’s love— and so can we. Believe it.

Now wouldn’t it be nice if all we had to do was remember? Paul’s letter to Timothy reminds us that from time to time we also need to do the work to rekindle the gift. He called Timothy to remember these foundational principles because something was awry. Paul’s letter is to nurture, to support and to strengthen Timothy in his calling. It reminds us that this fervency of belief is not a constant state.

As we work toward the future of United Methodist Women we must ask: What are we called to today? What are the needs of women and children today? Where are we called to serve and to advocate? How should we organize to best be a place where women can deepen their faith and be carried deeper into Christian community? How can we help women to hear the cry of the needy to impel them to join in collective action to counter forces of injustice? How can we rekindle the gift of God in our own beloved organization to make a difference in the church and in the world?

Belief is not purely a matter of the will. Belief is action—belief is a matter of the heart as well as the mind. Over and over again Scripture refers to believing with our heart. We don’t just think that God loves the world—we believe it! We don’t just think that United Methodist Women is called to serve and to advocate for women, children and youth—we believe it! We don’t just think there is a role for us to play—we believe it!

Since the onset of the pandemic, many of you showed with your actions that you believe you are called upon to make a difference. You contributed to the Giving Now event in May 2020 to help national mission institutions respond to unprecedented need. You made masks. Many masks. Thousands of masks! Masks for schoolchildren, health workers, national mission institutions, the Navajo Nation and mission organizations around the world. You spoke up for racial justice during this year of “crisis revealed.” You were invited. You invited others. You responded. You acted, believing you could make a difference. And you did.

Remember your relationships. Remember your legacy of faith and action and the women who have gone before us. Remember God’s love for us and for the whole world. Now is our time to remember and to rekindle and to believe that God is at work.

Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary
United Methodist Women
holson@unitedmethodistwomen.org

Posted or updated: 5/3/2021 12:00:00 AM