"Every Tribe -- One In Jesus" by Joan C. Thomson
Our World Belongs to God 30
After a quick detour to the Confession of Belhar, we return today to Paragraph 30 of "Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony." As we prepare to worship on Trinity Sunday, we keep our focus on recent world events.
Paragraphs 1-6: Preamble (April 11-29)
Paragraphs 7-12: Creation (April 30-May 8)
Paragraphs 13-17: Fall (May 11-15)
Paragraphs 18-22:Redemption (May 18-22)
Paragraphs 23-27: Jesus Christ (May 25-29)
Paragraphs 28-30: Holy Spirit (June 1-2, 5)
Paragraph 30 (Today)
The Spirit gathers people
from every tongue, tribe, and nation
into the unity of the body of Christ.
Anointed and sent by the Spirit,
the church is thrust into the world,
ambassadors of God’s peace,
announcing forgiveness and reconciliation,
proclaiming the good news of grace.
Going before them and with them,
the Spirit convinces the world of sin
and pleads the cause of Christ.
Men and women, impelled by the Spirit,
go next door and far away
into science and art, media and marketplace—
every area of life, pointing to the reign of God
with what they do and say.
[On the gathering of all nations, see Revelation 7:9-17; on the Spirit and the church’s mission, John 20:21-22, Luke 24:49, and Acts 1:8; on the church’s mission as ambassadors, 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; on the work of the Spirit in the world, John 16:7-11; and on the breadth of the church’s mission in the Spirit, Philippians 1:27-2:15.]
What a beautiful paragraph! What encouraging Scriptures! If this is what Christianity is, then I want to be a part of it! "Anointed and sent by the Spirit, the church is thrust into the world, ambassadors of God’s peace, announcing forgiveness and reconciliation, proclaiming the good news of grace."
Between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, I had a very positive, formational experience that I'd like to share with you. My family had moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin when I was eleven years old; my father had just taken a job as preacher there. In the denomination of which our church was a part, there were 6 churches, strictly segregated, right down the racial divide, just like the city. In about our third year there, an African-American family asked my father if they would be welcome at our church. After receiving his assurances, they came; this opened the door to many other African-American families following. By the time our family left after five years there, the church was fully integrated, and the preacher who took my father’s place in the pulpit was African-American. I have always been appreciative of having learned about the US racial question in a healthy spiritual environment.
In case I thought this was normal, however, my subsequent journeys stripped me of that delusion. What Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1968, that "Eleven o'clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of America" is still pretty much true. We Canadians cannot get smug on this, either.
We need to be building now for the gathering of that great multitude that no one can count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages!
Please have a look at the attached statement from the Canadian Council of Churches, signed by General Secretary Peter Noteboom, whom most of us know. Include the Scriptures and quotes in your prayers. Spend time with their list of resources. And be a part of the hard work of reconciliation.
Today's song, "We all Bleed the Same," was suggested by Jane.
"Lord, include us please in your work of reconcilation, preparing here what you will perfect in heaven, as we humble ourselves before you in this time."
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you" (2 Corinthians 13:13).