This past week at Eastside Covenant Church the message was the end of a series on Vitality. Pastor Taylor Burgoyne took us into the book of Acts to look at the first church and the obstacles they faced. Cultural differences, sexism, ageism, legalism, religious hierarchy, unjust laws and entitlement that were faced by the apostles and the disciples of the new church. Even the good things they were doing were challenged, like the sharing of all that they had. They were sharing within the group, but it was noticed by those not part of the “in” crowd. So, what did they do? They appointed new leaders to address the new concerns so that the current leaders could continue to focus on the core of delivering the gospel and bringing new disciples to the Church.
In Tucson the church has been divided by the same obstacles as the first church, and personally I have felt the division of Christians throughout my life, having been born to a Spanish Catholic-raised father and, the Anglo-Saxon church of the closest distance mother, who, once married, settled into was the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Even so, I saw an example of acceptance of differences set for me and my siblings.
While my own 3-day weekend was long before the inception of the John 17 weekends, it is here that I can celebrate the differences of Christians throughout Tucson and further. Serving on a weekend continues to show me how to embrace music, prayer and messages delivered by women and men who worship, pray and teach outside my comfort zone. Each reunion when, not just new alumni participate but also those who have been drawn in from other communities attend to worship, fellowship and plan for the next weekend, leaves me encouraged that John 17 is not a passing fad but something much deeper.
So back to the message from Eastside. Seeing what is being missed by current ministries and raising up new leaders through the 3-day weekend to take on those challenges will keep John 17 from being just another good thing. Living the 4th day OUT LOUD, showing Tucson our oneness in Christ, and coming together to serve will change our city.
May your days be filled with discomfort that moves you to serve Jesus in more ways than the day before.
By: Carol Peterson