A Harvest of Joy
When the Lord changed Zion’s circumstances for the better,
    it was like we had been dreaming.
Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter;
    our tongues were filled with joyful shouts.
It was even said, at that time, among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them!”
Yes, the Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are overjoyed.
Lord, change our circumstances for the better,
    like dry streams in the desert waste!
Let those who plant with tears
    reap the harvest with joyful shouts.
Let those who go out,
    crying and carrying their seed,
    come home with joyful shouts,
    carrying bales of grain! (Psalm 126 CEB)
 
The psalmist celebrates the way God is able to change our circumstances so that the tears we plant result in a harvest of joy.
 
We lament that we are going through a time of tears due to our collective sin and failure to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. 
 
We are in the midst of global upheaval with massive involuntary migration as people flee oppression and economic suffering in search of bare essentials for living; a period with rising tides of nationalism, racism, human trafficking, disrupting climate change, and violence.  
 
We are also experiencing denominational brokenness marked by differences of scriptural interpretation. We face conflict over what it means to be an inclusive church (Book of Discipline ¶4) with regard to all who are marginalized and oppressed. This includes the sins of racism, cultural domination, sexism, economic and sexual exploitation, and notably the prejudice against, exclusion of, and explicit harm done to LGBTQI persons who we declare to be “of sacred worth” but who are cruelly banned by our Church from living fully into their discipleship in the covenant of Christian marriage and the call to ministry.
 
We dream of the ways God will change our circumstances for the better as renewed and new institutional structures emerge to support our ministry and mission.  
 
We dream of a church that hears the groaning of the whole creation (Romans 8:18-25) for redemption and peace; a church that boldly participates in the coming of God’s dream of a transformed world in which the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the oppressed are set free, and the poor receive good news (Luke 4:16-21); a church that bears witness to the hope of that day when the kingdoms of this earth will become the Reign of God. (Revelation 11:15)
 
We dream of a church that wholeheartedly affirms the Christian faith expressed in the Articles of Religion, Confession of Faith of The United Methodist Church, the General Rules, and the historical creeds and liturgies of the Church and defined in the Book of Discipline as “Our Theological Task” (¶105).
 
We dream of a church that, instead of mirroring the painful polarization of the world around us, is united in our faith, mission, and ministry (Ephesians 4:1-6) while honoring diversity of conscience and practices given the varied contexts in which we serve (Acts 15:1-29).
 
We dream of a church that energetically teaches the whole Bible as well as the necessary spiritual skills of discernment and interpretation, and affirms the authority of Scripture and interprets it through the Wesleyan understanding of reason, tradition, and experience (Book of Discipline ¶105).
 
We dream of a church empowered by the Holy Spirit to clearly announce and assertively model the reign of God revealed in Jesus Christ in the life of the church and the world (Matthew 10:5-7).
 
We dream of a church that is actively and visibly fulfilling its mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world sharing love and seeking justice with all kinds of people in more and different places, even as Peter discovered that God’s grace included people who were formerly declared unclean (Acts 10:9-48).
 
We dream of local congregations that invite and truly welcome non-religious or marginalized people into transforming relationships with God as passionate disciples of Jesus Christ, who are also sent out to make the world loving and just (Book of Discipline ¶122).
 
We dream of a church that lives up to our commitments to the “global nature of our mission” (Book of Discipline ¶123) through vibrant connections and shared ministries that fulfill Christ’s command (Matthew 28:16-20) and respect and provide for cultural and contextual differences. 
 
We dream of the day when The United Methodist Church will once again reap the harvest of joyful witness and ministry in every place (Matthew 9:36-38).
 
We, the undersigned laity and clergy of The United Methodist Church, commit ourselves to participate in the coming of God’s dream as we work for a transformed world and a more gracious expression of United Methodism where both fully reflect God's love and calling in the lives of all people.

— Uniting Methodists

* Learn more about Uniting Methodists at https://unitingmethodists.com.

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Current Signatories
Rev. Pamela Abbey
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