International Methodist Young Leaders Seminar reported a simple message: Empower youth to bring a new generation in the world and the World Methodist Conference. It is the young that are shaking up the world. Young Methodists can contribute if a space is created. They can compose liturgy that speaks to the world and provide leadership into the future.
Rev. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon asked the audience to reflect on John 14: 12-14.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (NIV)
Dr. Lyon shared her experience of evil in Sierra Leone where she visited wards for victims of brutal attacks and amputations. She walked a street in Cambodia where children were being sold in the open. In both cases and many others like them, the evil was almost overwhelming.
She understands that often we feel that there is nothing we can do; the evil is too much to bear. She remembers Paul: “Do not be overcome with evil, overcome evil with good.” She exclaimed, “Things don’t have to be the way they are!” Through the power of the Spirit good can prevail. Change can come.
She related the experience of an amputee from the clinic that she had helped to establish to treat the amputees that she had encountered earlier. This amputee told that Dr. Lyon he had seen the former rebel soldier that had maimed him so horribly. He was frightened at first but “God put a rod up my back,” he said. He went up to the former soldier and held out his prosthetic hand to him. The soldier took his offered hand and kept holding on and when the man looked up into the soldier’s face, there were tears rolling down his checks. The soldier told him that he never thought he could be forgiven. The man told Dr. Lyon that before he had received the prosthesis he just wanted revenge but now he could forgive.
Change can happen. Jesus told Philip in John 14 to just ask. Dr. Lyon exhorted the gathering to ask, to ask right then and there. She prayed along with everyone, each silently for what God had put on his or her hearts that needed to change to transform the world.