God's Vision for the Church

A little over ten years ago, I wrote an article titled Rising with New Courage and New Hope in a journal called Weavings about standing in the tragic gap, a concept introduced to me by Dr. Parker J. Palmer, founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal. Here is a quote from the article,

A couple summers ago, at a multi-ethnic conference for our denomination, I had many promising conversations with young men and women from various minority groups. As I looked into their eyes and felt new hope, I could envision a promising future for God’s “rainbow people,” and my heart was broken open even more to continue carrying these tensions between what is and what can be. My heart is blessed knowing that one day some of these young men and women will have the privilege of serving congregations and agencies that currently have little racial-ethnic diversity. God has a greater vision for the church, and we are part of it. 

May our hearts be open and remain open to God's more excellent vision for the church as stated by the apostle John in Revelation 7:9, "After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands."

May we pause, look around us, and ask, "How are we doing?" and "What is he asking of me?"

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Admin

Beautiful post, beautiful vision. May we have the courage to pursue this in our lives, in our communities. Thanks for asking the questions. 

Participant

It is so hard. I find so many cultural assumptions – from myself and from others – working in ways that I just never expected. Conferences and articles do not prepare you for shared conversations and service, which are essential.

Thanks Michael for your response.

Yes, I agree that it is so hard. It is also so necessary. From my personal experience, the first place I started was prayer, asking the Lord to open my heart and mind to receive his people from different cultures, ethnicities, etc than my own. He continues to do this. Because of the societal tensions in our country and world, I regularly ask for a clean heart and renewed spirit. It's not hard to get sidetracked and become isolated in my own little world. 

Building relationships and partnerships were key when I was the pastor of an urban CRC congregation.

Blessings as you continue serving and sharing with others in advancing God's vision for diversity in the kingdom.