The Church Is Not Dying! (part three of three)
By Zac Harmon-McLaughlin of Walnut Creek, CA, USA
a. God is calling for a prophetic community to emerge, drawn from the nations of the world, that is characterized by uncommon devotion to the compassion and peace of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Through divine grace and wisdom, this faith community has been given abundant gifts, resources, and opportunities to equip it to become such a people. Chief among these is the power of community in Christ expressed locally in distinctive fashions while upholding a unity of vision, foundational beliefs, and mission throughout the world.
b. There are many issues that could easily consume the time and energy of the church. However, the challenge before a prophetic people is to discern and pursue what matters most for the journey ahead. —Doctrine and Covenants 163:11
Henri Nouwen reminds us in his book Reaching Out, “Therefore, as the people of God, we are ekklesia (from the Greek kaleo=call and ek=out), the community called out of the old world into the new.” I could share many stories of the church growing and becoming.
The truth is I don’t need to. When we pay attention and open our eyes, we have our own stories of hope and possibility. The church is not without hope and the church is not dying. The church is shifting, which signals that we are becoming.
May we become ekklesia. May we go into a world that is groaning with suffering, division, hunger, and fear, and proclaim a movement that promotes communities of joy, hope, love, and peace. May we become who Christ has called us to be and embrace the mission of Jesus Christ in a world challenged by apathy and a loss of hope.
May we have stubborn hope and passionately, fearlessly, and vulnerably respond through everyday experiences with the living God. I understand the complexities and difficulties, but I am not concerned with numbers or budget. I am inspired by Christ’s mission and encouraged by HOPE.
Prayer for Peace
Call us out, God, that we may enter a new phase of our discipleship. Help us let go of long-held ideas of what church should be. May we focus on Christ’s mission as our mission—Christ’s peace as our peace.
Spiritual Practice: Hope
Close your mind to troubling thoughts and anxiety by placing them in God’s generous hands and letting them go. Let God speak to your fearful heart. Think of your hope for the future—open windows in your mind through which you can see compassionate actions. Reflect on the hope that Christ brings. What is your plan to be part of that hope?
Today, God, I will not fear mysterious horizons so I may join with communities of uncommon devotion to peace.