There are times in life when it is really apparent that God’s kingdom is present. Shirley and I have been fortunate to be a part of something special when she was called to be the pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Alpena, MI. In this town there is a group of churches that have lived out a little bit of how God’s kingdom can look in this present age as they join together to take part in various activities. This group was formed and operating before we got to Alpena and have several functions that they take part in doing the year. However, the most involved event is when they have midweek Lenten worship services.
Each Wednesday during Lent the services are rotated from church to church, they start with a simple soup and bread supper, which is followed by a worship service with a different clergy person preaching each week. It is truly neat and wonderful to have so many faith traditions coming together to break bread and have worship together.
We get to visit the churches, hear different speakers, and take part in a variety of worship styles. Even though each week the format is unlike the previous week, the worship is centered around praising God, and being in fellowship with other believers. Each year a specific Lenten theme is used for all of the services and the sermons delivered are based on that theme. In my mind this is a real example of having God’s kingdom be in this time and space.
The churches that are involved in the movement here are from the United Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, Episcopal, Lutheran (ELCA) and Roman Catholic faith traditions. I realize that Alpena isn’t the only place that this is happening, and in fact there are probably many other places that are more diverse then the churches mentioned here. I would also say that those too are examples of God’s kingdom being present here and now. Being ecumenical in today’s world may indeed involve being part of events that include a wide range of faiths and religions.
On your spiritual pilgrimage look for places and events where you can sense that God’s kingdom is present, and where God’s will is being done and people from many faiths, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds come together for a common purpose, rejoice and praise God for being able to witness and take part in that wonderful movement!
Prayer, Lord of all creation, help me to be open to those events around me that show your kingdom is present, and your will is done, and guide me to share this experience with those I meet today! Amen. Vernon T.
Copyright © 2015 Vernon T. Jones, All Rights Reserved