A group of 9 people from DMAC attended this year’s winter conference in Greensboro, North Carolina. The conference was attended by some 1,700+ Anglicans from all over the US, along with our Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda and retired Archbishops Moses Tay and Yong Ping Chung of Southeast Asia.
The theme of the conference was “Grow Out On A Limb” and the text was from John 15. The heart of AMiA is to reach the 130 million people in the US that are unsaved and are unchurched or de-churched.
We heard, both in the plenary sessions and the workshops that God lives in the whole world. He did not give His Son to the world so that we could have a place to gather with like-minded people to enjoy each other’s company. We can do that and we do that, thanks be to God, but that was not the reason He sent His Son to die on the cross. God is interested in the whole world and lives in the whole world. He wants us to be ‘out on a limb’ because that is where the fruit is. The fruit is on the periphery of the tree, not on the main trunk. So continuing with that metaphor, we, as the branches, are attached to the trunk (Christ and the Church) but we are thrust to the outer edges to where the fruit is. Jesus modeled this in his earthly ministry by eating with publicans (tax collectors), sinners, prostitutes, lepers, the lame and the blind, entering into their world to heal them, setting them free from the chains that bind them, loosing them from addictions that control them.
We are being called to a world in which we, as Christians, are losing and possibly have already lost, our privileged position in society. There is more hostility to the Christian message in America than we have had to face in the past. We are going to have to learn how to be ‘in the world but not of the world.’ We are going to have to let the light of Christ shine in us and through us. A light in a dark place cannot be hidden. The Scripture says, ‘a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.’ If you’ve ever had the privilege of driving from Flagstaff to Phoenix in the evening, and you are starting to descend off the rim above Sedona, if you look to the far southwest you can see the lights of Jerome. A town that could have died (and almost did), still sends off a light that travelers can see from many miles away. In the same way, we as Christians must let the light of Christ shine – we must not be hidden or cease to exist just because we have lost our position in society. Our challenge is to go to the edges of society (God is already there) and by any and all means win people to Jesus Christ. Build relationships that are deep and lasting so those who have been wounded can see the light of Christ shining in us.
God’s kingdom will come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.