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From her column Around the Corner

around-the-corner-09-13-1Autumn is almost here. Leaves are changing colors and soon will fall. School bells are ringing for students, teachers, and others associated with education. This is a time when we contemplate the season past, and look to a possible new beginning.

We now have had time to reflect on this past summer and, in particular, our Unsequestered Nazarene General Assembly (UNGA). When meetings such as this finally adjourn, we find our minds “harking back” to memorable moments, and this year was no exception. At times we thought, “seriously?” At others, we simply found ourselves comparing the choices and decisions of this gathering with prior ones. We “Prime Timers” do lots of harking.

Let me be perfectly clear, UNGA(not to be confused with the United Nations General Assembly) is composed of Nazarenes from many nations, all united in purpose—to lift up Christ. The event provided many opportunities for “harking back.”

Personally, it was memorable to hear the voice which reported the actions of different committees, “Mo-tion Re-ject-ed!” I had it memorized early on. Another memorable moment was when an action was reported: “Refer back to Board of General Superintendents!” According to some in close proximity to me, what this really meant was, “Send it to the recycling bin!”

Comments of other (anonymous, of course) persons in my area became a significant source of listening pleasure and harking back moments. One complained, “Did we actually need a committee to decide that?” Then, “We all believe those words. Why don’t we just just say, ‘Okay’ and write them down in the Manual?” (Wellll..... We’ve heard that question before—must not be doable.)

Next, “Ballot #44 and #53…”? “You can’t mean it! It's getting late! What is wrong with the delegates?” That commenter seemed to be unaware of the fact that “voting” is the chief recreation of we-the-people, and to have these fun voting machines in front of us was incredibly great (much “funner” than unknown characters on a video game device). They probably reasoned that if the elections were rushed through, then everyone would have to stop playing with their fun, digital toys. That would be an unintended bummer. Not memorable!

Another interpretation by a seemingly uninformed group of non-voters: “We must have merged with another denomination. See, it says so on this black cord around our necks!” In spite of the fact that I tried really hard to listen to the first responder to this comment, my hearing is a bit temperamental at times, and I couldn’t understand the reply. Probably a good thing, as my response would have been neither enlightening nor memorable.

Still other observers were heard to say that their most memorable moment was when the presiding official of the plenary session, advised the delegates it was time to “reconvene and come to order.” Delegates then were instructed to record their attendance via their video controllers, thus: “Vote ‘1' if you are present; vote ‘2' if... uh… uh… you are not here.” Wonder where the absentees who voted ‘2’ were? My guess is they were in la-la land, dreaming of baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, or walking on the beach. Just saying.

But back to the present. It is the time in the U.S. when we celebrate the close of summer once more—time to look ahead, go forward and deal with life, current events, and the future. We always remember the God who brought us out, but also we declare with the songwriter, “May all who come behind us find us faithful! Maybe it is time to forsake the claims, “We’ve always done it this way.” And, prayerfully following His lead, we will build on the sure foundation for the future!

St. Paul summarizes it eloquently: “One thing I do,forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13b, 14).

Justine Knight was raised in a parsonage and married to a Nazarene minister for more than 50 years.

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