I’m having an Acts 8 Moment week. Leaders of the movement will gather via the interwebs this afternoon to share ideas and success stories as well as to plan for a real-life, face-to-face, gathering in April. I’m grateful to be part of a group of young(ish) folk, both lay and ordained, who have a passion for prayer, Biblical study, mission, and our church. Then, tonight, I’ll lead the first of a four-part Lenten Series entitled, “Acts 8: How God does the impossible through is servants.” Tonight we’ll begin by looking at Stephen’s martyrdom at the end of Acts 7 and what it meant for the early Church. Then, we’ll do the hard work of asking ourselves questions like:
- What do you miss about the old ways?
- Where do you see God at work in the world?
- What gives you hope?
We’ll study, we’ll pray, but most importantly, we’ll talk, openly and honestly, about where we are, where Saint Paul’s is, and where the wider church sits as the world around us changes drastically before our very eyes. Finally, on Friday afternoon, TKT and I will host an Acts 8 Gathering (4:15pm in the Movie Theatre at the Majestic) for delegates of The Diocese of the Central Gulf Coasts 42nd Annual Convention. We’ll study, we’ll pray, we’ll dream, but most importantly, we’ll gather as lay and ordained people who are interested in God’s mission through the CGC in the years to come.
There are some out there who think this stuff is Pollyannaish nonsense. Detractors say that a hierarchical church cannot survive, that the Gospel has no influence in modern culture, or worse, that things are fine just the way they are. Maybe they are right, but I doubt it. My hope rests in a God who desires so deeply a loving two-way relationship with us, that he sent his Son to live and die as one of us. That Son, Jesus Christ, died and on the third day rose again. 40 days later, as he ascended into heaven, an advocate, the Spirit, was promised to his followers, and she continues to work in, through, with and in spite of the disciples of Jesus to this day.
Change won’t happen overnight. I realize that. My own will is too big a ship to turn on a dime, much less the Church, but if Sunday’s Genesis lesson teaches us nothing else, it is worth remembering, yet again, that for God a day is like 10,000 years and 10,000 years, a day. The long view of history will be helpful as renewal and reform happen in fits and starts, but I’m certain that the hard work will certainly be worth it.
I may or may not blog the next few days, as Convention is going to be hectic. Pray for Saint Paul’s, pray for the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, pray for the Church, and give thanks to God for the opportunity to be a part of such an exciting moment.