Molly and I went “Church Visiting” today. When Gardner Gay invited us months ago to attend a gathering at a northside church he had been helping, for a “Rap on Race,” we decided to go. In the course of the meeting with Gardner and Brian, minister of one of the long serving churches in the black community, Molly said, “Why don’t we do what the churches in Africa do and gather a few people to visit sister churches? That’s the way churches there get to know each other – by building bridges of friendship.”
They liked the idea, and so did we. With help from Colonial’s Mission Minister, Paul, a group of about ten of us set off on a late fall Sunday to visit Zion Baptist Church, just down Hwy 55 from Golden Valley, through Wirth Park to Zion – closer to where we live than Colonial.
It was a wonderful experience. We were welcomed by many folks, and embraced by Dr. Brian Herron, Senior Pastor. The choir sang winsome choruses with arm-waving and many Hallelujahs and Amens.
The congregation applauded their approval. There were announcements, testimonies, and prayers. The preacher gave us a deeply personal and confessional sermon which ended with his coming down from the pulpit in tears to sit alone upon the steps, himself overcome by the Spirit. It was deeply moving.
With Molly’s prodding, I shuffled my way forward to sit with him. Others joined us. It was a tender time. Soft singing all around. Lots of praying.
We were, somehow, wonderfully, together. We all felt the presence of the Lord.
Earlier, as we were finding a place to sit, a woman of the church greeted us, saying, “Why Dr. Rouner, we were together during the riots of the 1960’s.” So, we found friends.
On a later Sunday, a few of their folks came for lunch with some of us, under a tent at the Hilltop Restaurant. We ate lunch, told stories, sang, and prayed.
Others have gone back and begun to help Zion with projects of service in the community, like their “21 Days of Peace” they have already established on street corners of the northside.
So, bridges of the heart are gradually being built. We went today with a caring couple from home, to be present together when our Dr. Jim, our Pilgrim Center president, went as guest to preach at Zion on HEALING, a sermon deep in Gospel truth, on the healing work of Jesus, and how it can be our healing work.
It was an exhilarating day, stimulated by the earnest, Biblical word God had given Jim to offer to us all. A great stirring beckoned us all and lifted our hearts. A Word of hope, meant for us in these days of such conflict across this land, where the American Church still holds the dream that we are “A city set upon a hill, with the eyes of the world upon us,” with a vision in our hearts to be a “servant nation” to the world.
How great the need. How high the call! Bless you all, Pilgrim friends.
In Jesus, the Hope of the World.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
|Arthur Rouner Ministries||
ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES