So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation… – 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
Sunday morning, after laryngitis left her essentially speechless three consecutive Sundays, Rebekah shared a strong message on the critical importance of the ministry of reconciliation. Then, as if instigated by a moment of divine humor, a power outage at the beginning of 11:15 worship turned off every light and microphone, and Rebekah had to use up every last vestige of her still-recovering voice.
The power came back on literally at the exact moment Rebekah finished the benediction, sealing a beautiful and memorable morning with spontaneous uproarious laughter throughout the sanctuary.
BAPTISM: Morning worship began with a surprisingly full Praise Service given the overnight “spring forward” time adjustment. Three members of one family were baptized, and I love the careful order of events in the Presbyterian tradition. Heather – the mom – was baptized first (BTW, Rebekah drenches!), so that she and her husband could then make promises, together, on behalf of their children.
During her sermon, Rebekah planned to sing one verse of a poignant hymn. But, unsure of her voice, she called up our Music Ministries director to help. In consequence there was a beautiful interlude of harmony to underscore the point that Christ’s presence is more than an idea, it is a reality that quite literally fills the sanctuary.
“Christ in the eyes of all who see me; Christ in the ears that hear my voice; Christ in the hearts of all who know me: O Christ, surround me, O Christ surround me.” (Hymn #543, Glory to God)
ENERGY: There was real energy to Rebekah’s preaching, we all felt a significant spiritual lift from the baptism, and then there was no mistaking the powerful exclamation point of vibrant life through the musical offering from the youth rock band.
Then, in an eloquent illustration of how radically different two worship styles can be, the power outage made traditional worship that much more contemplative, accenting the listening, the reflection, and the beauty of silence.
AUTHENTICITY: The commonality is that both worship experiences are authentic. We are a church populated by many people, representing a variety of points of view, theological nuances, doctrinal preferences, political leanings, musical tastes, and mile-markers along the journey of discipleship. Yet we are experiencing the rare beauty of unity in Christ.
This past Sunday – from the casual, well-amplified, bustling, enthusiastic energy of contemporary worship… to the time-honored, contemplative, all acoustic, quiet vibrancy of our traditional service – Wake Forest Presbyterian Church lives out loud the essential thesis of Rebekah’s message.
If we ever wonder about what it is that we’re supposed to be doing as Christians, then look to the ministry of reconciliation!
The whole point of Christ’s coming, the truth that we must extract from our journey together through Lent, is the ministry of reconciliation; that we become reconciled to God, that the evidence of that reconciling love must also be reconciliation in the Body of Christ, and that we bring such mercy and grace into a world that needs the church to demonstrate what is possible in Christ.
What an idea! That churches become leaders in reconciliation, rather than standing as more sad evidence of the brokenness that is destroying this world….
In love, and because of love – DEREK
(baptism pics and more…)