North Alabama Conference
898 Arkadelphia Road
Birmingham, AL 35204
Within Alabama: 800-239-7950
As a member or alternate member of Annual Conference, you will receive an e-devotional once a week until Annual Conference 2014 begins. Please use these meditations, based on the theme for this year, to prepare for our worshipful work together.
Grounded, Resilient & Fruit-Bearing
They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.
–Jeremiah 17:8 (NRSV)
This past January I had the privilege of journeying to Israel with 33 clergy and laity from the North Alabama Conference. We were inspired by the holy sites and rich diversity that we experienced. We were amazed at the Dead Sea – and somewhat apprehensive for those twelve or so venturesome souls from our group who swam in it. We were moved by the story of what happened at Masada. We felt a deep heaviness as we viewed the pictures, quotes, artifacts and video footage displayed in the Holocaust museum.
But especially, there were the trees found in Galilee, Jerusalem and some other parts of the country. Israel has remarkable, mature, enduring trees. They are like the trees described in Jeremiah 17:8 – strong, healthy and fruitful. The prophet uses powerful imagery to compare followers of God to these trees, saying that when we are planted by water we send out our roots by the stream. Thus we are grounded . . . resilient . . . and fruit-bearing. This is the kind of follower that I want to be. I want Jeremiah’s words to describe each of us, the churches of which we are a part and the North Alabama Annual Conference.
Question to think about: How grounded, resilient and fruit-bearing am I?
God of Life, you have given us–each person and church in the North Alabama Conference–all we need to be grounded, resilient and fruitful disciples. As we gather next week may our connection grow stronger and our roots deeper–through the fertile soil that is your Word and the Living Water that is the beginning point of grace and growth. Amen.
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett Bishop, Birmingham Episcopal Area North Alabama Conference
<h3 style="color:#ffffff" ;="" align="center" "="">North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church