Sisters and brothers in Christ,
It has been a rough few days for United Methodists who believe that God's great love not simply includes but calls all of God's children to fully participate in all that God is doing in this world. And thus yesterday I did something I'd never done before. I got up at 6am to slip in a swim in the hotel pool. I knew that I needed to start the day at optimal mental health because it was going to be a long emotionally intense day, and indeed it was.
I went back to the pool this morning, but this time I immediately dove down—down to the bottom of the deep end, staying as long as I possibly could. Seeking solace, I fully immersed myself in the waters. And there in the abyss a song began floating through my mind. Not just any song, but Three Little Birds, a song whose words are found in the first book my father bought my daughter.
"Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!"
Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', “This is my message to you-ou-ou:"
At the bottom of a swimming pool I worshiped with an opening hymn by Bob Marley and a recessional of Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin (because, of course that is what my subconscious’ playlist popped out next).
My beloved sisters and brothers, don’t worry about a thing. Be happy. Not a happiness that ignores the realities of this world or the very real pain it inflicts, but a happiness that defiantly stares into the face of those who marginalize you and says “You have no power over me. You don’t get to take away my joy.” A happiness that boldly prophesies that, in the end, every little thing is going to be alright. And as my father loved to say, “If it ain’t alright, it isn’t the end.”
Much love from The UMC’s General Conference 2019