Bishop Karen Oliveto's Weekly Message (5/14/23)

May 14, 2023
I am praying for the clergy and laity of the Mountain Sky Conference as we continue to live into the joy of resurrection in this Eastertide.
This week the cabinet was in Montana. We spent the bulk of our time doing appointment work, but we also spent time at BUMP (Blackfeet United Methodist Parish) and the Flathead Lake United Methodist Camp. It was good to visit these important ministry sites in Montana and learn more of our United Methodist heritage and ministries.

Our time at the camp brought a hush to our group. We were on holy ground as we drank in the beauty of God’s creation. We ended our time with communion but prior to that we walked the labyrinth at the lake’s edge.

I took some deep breaths to center myself before stepping on the labyrinth’s path, wanting to be open to how God might speak to me. Within a couple of steps, a piece of scripture entered my consciousness, and I began to use it as a breath prayer:
“Restore a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51)

I was surprised by the Holy Spirit’s gift of this scripture. As I walked slowly on the labyrinth, I stayed open to what I might learn. “Renew a right spirit within me.” Where was my spirit not right? How did I need God to renew me?

As I did the breath prayer, I held space to listen to God. What about the places where my patience had run thin? What about the distrust I carry towards some? Where does anger simmer beneath the surface? The dis-ease within my soul begin to reveal itself and I found myself praying, “Renew a right spirit within me” with greater intensity as I walked.

I came to the center of the labyrinth and as I began the journey outward, this Psalm informed my new prayer:
“Lead me, Lord.” (Psalm 5:8)

Lead me, Lord: Lead me to a right spirit. Lead me to reconciliation in relationships that are broken. Lead me to open-heartedness. Lead me to being disarmed. Lead me to being undefended. Lead me to a spirit of generosity and grace. Lead me to that peace which passes all understanding.

We don’t always get what we want, but God always gives us what we need.

What is it you need from God this day? May you take that inward journey and listen to what God has to offer you.

With love,
Bishop Karen