The church I love and was privileged to serve for three tumultuous and wonderful decades, in admittedly a very different day from these early 21st-Century days, is deep in a creative, Spirit-led process of visioning its future. "To what is God calling us now?" is their question.
I join the process through speaking to myself and perhaps, through this blog, to a small company of friends, many of those part of the present "diaspora" of that same Christian company. My appeal in writing this is for their prayers and their own sense of vision for that great company that is daring to lay itself open before God, asking honestly and humbly, what He wants of them now, and for the long future.
Several observations and hopes rise in my heart for that great company as they look to their future.
One is the IMPORTANCE OF OUR HISTORY - of who we have been and what we were led to undertake in the first decade and a half from 1946 to 1960, and then from 1962 - 1994. And the 20+ years since then.
We were a church of the community, responding to critical needs in the community of Edina - for its children and youth, its needs of housing, etc.
But also a church of Minneapolis and the Twin Cities, and ultimately of Africa and the world. We were part of a major ecumenical adventure of five churches venturing out to fight the famine of the 1980's in Africa. God blessed our efforts for those countries and people, and for Christian unity among the churches of Edina.
Mercifully God fashioned us to be a true "company of love" - in our service to people, in our spirit as a church, and in our dealing with people individually. Love "worked" with that Christian company, bringing rich healing to wounded people, and a deep togetherness in Christ.
We were, in our own way, part of the Holy Spirit revival of the 1970's and 1980's in the Twin Cities. There is evidence in the interest of a small number of people in a renewal of the Spirit for this church. They are serious, if possibly unlikely people. This would be a wonderful time to reclaim the Spirit for this great company's life in active visible ways. Like public prayers for receiving the Holy Spirit. Like gatherings to offer Christian healing to those who need it. Making room for, and not being afraid of "the Spirit."
Theologically we may be at a time when a new understanding of our Pilgrim and Puritan heritage could reveal to us how profoundly that unique Pilgrim way is a way of the Spirit. That is, we are, as Congregationalists, a Holy Spirit tradition, committed to governance to Christ the Holy Spirit who said "when two or three gather together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them." He will respond to a regular "Church Meeting" humbly open to Him and asking His guidance. And, He will show us the many wonderful surprises He has for us.
Deep within all this, is the acknowledgement in our day, that "RECONCILIATION" through forgiveness, is the very heart of the Gospel for our day - and all days. We have something profound to offer out of Jesus' reconciliation teaching, to our hurt country and world.
There is a seriousness in our church's life and history and evangelical and spiritual and Biblical commitment, that many young people are seeking and already finding in our Senior Minister's leadership of our church company today.
Seriousness of prayer, commitment to small groups (both in deepening life, and for personal needs) could increase in our life.
This is a ripe and wonderful day for the renewal and reformation of us all and of our churches - and especially our church of the Pilgrim Way which has given so much and so deeply to us all "in the years of our life."
Would you lend prayer for this company that nurtured us and sent us out into the world, and hold her high in your hearts in these days ahead?
My book, "The Free Church Today: New Life for the Whole Church" has a contribution to make to us in this new time. I humbly commend it to you. It has just been republished. It is not in our store yet, but you can request a copy ahead by dropping us an email. The price is $13.00 plus shipping.
By the way...
Check out our upcoming events on our Events page - an annual Advent Bible Study, a journey to visit our Native American friends, and the annual Pilgrim Center Christmas Party. Also, I will be preaching at Colonial Church on Christmas morning at 9:30 am. I hope to see you there!
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
|Arthur Rouner Ministries||
ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. . ."