Busy serving the Master

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer was the guest preacher at the 2016 Michigan Conference. A member of the Commission on a Way Forward, Palmer encourages the church to stay rooted in doing missional ministry. ~mic photo/Jeremy Africa

Bishop Gregory Palmer says prayer and mission engagement can overcome fear.

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer is the episcopal leader of the West Ohio Conference. He is also a member of The Commission on a Way Forward, currently meeting in Berlin, Germany. Before he left the States, he shared these pastoral words on the West Ohio Conference website …

Greetings to all the saints:

On Friday, September 15, I will be heading out for the fifth meeting of the Commission on a Way Forward. This meeting will be held in Berlin, Germany, and from the very beginning the Commission felt it was important, because we are a global church, to not have all of our meetings in the United States.

In that spirit, I invite you to read a statement released by the moderators of the Commission here, which points to some of the aims of this particular meeting. Please know that I am always sustained by and thrive on your prayers. The work of this Commission has been bathed in prayer, externally and internally, and I encourage you to continue to be a prayerful people in this season of the church’s life, and with an eye toward this particular work.

As I move around the church and our annual conference, I often sense – or it is very clear – the anxiety in the system called The United Methodist Church. Many are anxious and fearful about now, about 2019, and about 2020.

It’s my personal experience that when I am anxious and fearful, I do not make the best decisions nor do my best work. I believe this is true for organizations and institutions as well. Two things move me out of fear and anxiety: the first is prayer, which helps me contemplate that all of my trust and confidence must be in God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. And secondly, keeping a single eye on the mission – To equip local churches to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world…a world of justice, love, and peace filled with people growing in the likeness of Jesus Christ.

I find the mission of the church compelling enough to keep me rooted in doing missional ministry, and when I stay in that space, so to speak, my fears may not always completely flee, but they do recede dramatically.

There is an African-American spiritual entitled, “Ain’t Got Time to Die.” I commend its words to you, inserted below, in the confidence that if everything we do is about the mission, and in service to that mission, we will come out of our long dilemma over human sexuality in a good place.

Yours in Christ,

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer


Ain’t Got Time to Die

Lord, I keep so busy praisin’ my Jesus
Keep so busy praisin’ my Jesus
Keep so busy praisin’ my Jesus
Ain’t got time to die
‘Cause when I’m healin’ the sick I’m praisin’ my Jesus
When I’m healin’
When I’m healin’ the sick
Ain’t got time to die

‘Cause it takes all o’ my time to praise my Jesus
All o’ my time to praise my Lord
If I don’t praise Him de rocks gonna cry out:
“Glory an’ honor, glory an’ honor”
Ain’t got time…

Lord, I keep so busy workin’ fer de kingdom,
Keep so busy workin’ fer de kingdom,
Keep so busy workin’ fer de kingdom,
Ain’t got time to…

‘Cause whin I’m feedin’ de po’
I’m workin’ fer de kingdom
Yes, I’m workin’, when I’m feedin de po’
Lord I ain’t got time;

‘Cause it takes all o’ ma time to praise my Jesus,
All o’ my time to praise my Lord.
If I don’t praise Him de rocks gonna cry out:
“Glory and honor, glory and honor!”
Ain’t got time to die

Lord, I keep so busy servin’ my Master
Keep so busy servin’ my Master
Keep so busy servin’ my Master
Ain’t got time…

‘Cause when I’m givin’ my all, I’m serving my Master,
When I’m givin’ my all, Lord I ain’t got time

Cause it takes all o’ my time to praise my Jesus
All o’ my time to praise my Lord
If I don’t praise Him, the rocks gonna cry out,
“Glory an’ honor, glory an’ honor”
Ain’t got time…

Now won’t you git out o’ my way, lemme praise my Jesus,
Git out of my way
If I don’t praise Him the rocks gonna cry out:
“Glory an’ honor, glory an’ honor!”
No, I ain’t got time to die

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