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Worship, Art, Liturgy, Preaching

April 23, 2005

The biggest draw for me to the event at Asbury this last week, was the convergence of so many streams and traditions. I was so grateful that Father Thomas Hopko was there from the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

One of the signs of hope and healing within the body of Christ was the commitment to be in relationship with others from outside our own traditions. A common practice at Asbury, was that people would reference their own “tradition” as opposed to saying in “my church” or in my “denomination.” I sensed in this language a desire to express our need for each other–our catholicity.

The picture of the church in 1 Corinthians 12 of one body with many parts, is one that applies to the church across time and space. We often apply this passage to the local congregation–Sally has this gift, Joe has that one, Mary has the other, and we all need each other. What if we understand that passage in a more universal, historical context. What if my own Anabaptist tradition is just the foot, and the charismatic stream is just the eye… What if the North American church is just the hand, and the church in the global south is an ear… We are incomplete without the whole expression of church.

Another recurring theme throughout the WALP event was that of justice. The final session focused on God’s call for us to be “just worshippers.” The old divisions between “liberal and conservative” between the social gospel and evangelicals are falling down. The Gospel of the Kingdom deals with sin in its personal AND social dimensions. The church is the eschatological community of Jesus. The Kingdom of God is breaking in even now as we seek to live in the way of Christ. It’s not just about getting people “saved” so their souls go to heaven. We are called to see the power of the incarnation, the cross, the resurrection, making all things new. Creation, social systems, as well as individual lives.

So the debt load carried by developing countries because of unjust, tyrants and it’s crushing impact on the masses of poor, marginalized peoples is a Kingdom issue. God loves justice.

“For I, the LORD, love justice…”
Isaiah 61:8

Another rich blessing was that I was able to be a part of this event in Kentucky within community–Ira, Elma, and Dawn went along from SMC.

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