Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church started the second full day of the WMC with a challenging question: “What does your love look like?”
She gave examples of what love looks like from others including the tragedy in Charleston and the forgiveness given by family and members of the congregation that endured that unimaginable loss. She declared “God’s love will change your mind about people and change your mind about God.”
The Scripture for study was Mark 2: 1-11. She reflected on the conflict of those who thought they knew Jesus and who Jesus really was. She brought that idea forward to praise God for people who can see beyond our pain to who God would have us be. The 4 helpers saw beyond the incapacity of the invalid and stopped at nothing to bring him to Jesus. They found a way despite the crowds, they were creative, they did something they probably had never done before to get to Jesus. Bishop extolled the audience to do the same, do something new, creative to get to Jesus and to bring others to Him. “We can’t keep doing the same old thing ‘cause it’s not working!”
Bishop praised God for people, like the 4 helpers, who can see beyond our pain and brokenness to who we can be and not desire to control us or be afraid of the best in us.
She reminded us that Jesus not only healed in the story but He forgave the invalid’s sins. And, those who saw the miracle changed their minds about people and changed their minds about God. She urged the audience to use this example to break through the roof, get out of house, to get to where the people are.
“Praise God for people who understand that love is a verb, an action word.”
“Let us abound in the supernatural love of God. “
“Love is the Bible in a nutshell.”
“Love of God will make you do strange and wonderful things.”
It will make you love regardless of social class, race, gender, education or anything else that could divide you from your brothers and sisters. Love can make you advocate for the poor, stop abuse and violence against women, even make you civil towards those who don’t share your views on many things.
To conclude, Bishop Murphy McKenzie had everyone up, holding hands, dancing and singing “Love Train.”