Saturday, 2 July 2011

Canada Day Challenge to the Medicine Hat Church

My piece for the "By the Way" column in The Medicine Hat News today:
I’m writing this a couple of days before Canada Day so I don’t know how many folk will be at the morning Ecumenical Worship Service the Medicine Hat and District Ministerial Association organizes for the Medicine Hat and District Canada Day Society. I hope there will be lots of you. UPDATE: there were around 225 souls present
For those who were there, thank you for your presence. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ was worshipped in the power of the Holy Spirit. Deep gratitude and appreciation was expressed for the grace and blessings we receive as citizens of Canada. 
Thanks, too, to Pastor Mac de Waal from Unity Lutheran, Pastor Gary Mason from the Family Church, and president of the Medicine Hat and District Ministerial Association, who helped organize it all; Pastor George Koopmans of Medicine Hat Christian Reformed Church, who spoke; Pastor Dwight Seib and his band from First Assembly who led the worship in song; Aaron and Kendra Melanson from GX Canada for their gift of dance, Andrew Plait and Cindy da Rosa from Hillcrest Church for their ministry to the children. 
I know it’s a whole year away, but while it’s fresh in my mind, I want to put in a plug for next year’s service and for all opportunities for Medicine Hat and district churches to get together for worship. It’s important. We all have our preferences when it comes to music, prayer and worship style, but when we allow those preferences to keep us from worshipping with other Christians in our community occasionally, the church is weakened, our witness to the Good News of Jesus is compromised and the enemy wins.
So here’s my challenge. Evangelicals, join the mainliners at their World Day of Prayer service at Medicine Hat Christian Reformed Church on Friday March 2nd, 2012 at 7pm. Fill that church! Mainliners, do the same, join the evangelicals for the Global Day of Prayer gathering at Hillcrest Church on Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 630pm. Next year’s Canada Day service is a bit more of a challenge because it falls on a Sunday, but if we were all to send a tenth of our regular congregations to worship at Kin Coulee that day what a proclamation of Good News that would be! 
When Christians gather to worship from across the church; mainline and evangelical, cautiously and exuberantly charismatic, Catholic and Protestant, liturgical and improvisational; God is pleased and a powerful statement is made to our community about faith in Jesus Christ.