So we begin to draw to the close of another Connexional year – the Methodist Conference (our governing body) will meet in Birmingham between June 27th and July 4th; there will be ministerial moves around the country and, hopefully, a period of fewer meetings and some time for everyone to recharge their batteries.
The programme and agendas for this year's Conference are available online via the Methodist Church website, where you can also find details of what goes on around the Conference. There are a wide variety of debates coming to Conference this year, some of which will be live streamed via the website. If you are reading this after the Conference has finished, I would still encourage you to have a look online at what went on. There will also be a summary for the Circuits coming out to make sure everyone has the opportunity to know what has been decided and what we are being asked to pray and think about.
The Church across the world is now in the post-Pentecost period when we seek, through worship and silence, prayer and study, to heed the prompting of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church. We continue to develop our understanding of what it means both to speak of the love of God and to live it out practically in the challenging circumstances of our time. Our world seems to be a very broken place at times, with humanity looking too often to that which separates rather than to that which unites – in our politics; our communities and our churches.
Some of you have probably heard of the practice of kintsugi (or kintsukuroi) – a Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics, with a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy behind the technique is to recognize the history of the object and to visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it. It can remind us that even that which seemed beyond repair can be given new life and new beauty in the hands of a master craftsman. Not that the new item has no cracks: they are there for all to see, but in the act of bringing the pieces back together, something new is created: a reconciliation of brokenness is enacted. We have a model for that transforming act in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for it is through his blood that the broken pieces of our humanity, already made in the image of the invisible God, can be restored into something even more beautiful. So, may we have the courage to pick up the broken pieces we encounter this summer and use the grace of God, flowing through us, to create people, situations and lives of beauty in the sight of God.