The USA Today headlines hanging on my hotel doorknob would catch anybody’s eye.
The USA Today headlines hanging on my hotel doorknob would catch anybody’s eye. In Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday to conduct the funeral of our dear neighbor and friend, June Bascom, I read the banner: “World of troubles for US: Obama returns to the White House facing crises on three fronts.” Beneath it in three parallel columns, each of these crises was further headlined and reported: the ongoing calamity of BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; the mounting tensions in the Korean peninsula; and the Israel-Palestine showdown over the thwarted Gaza aid flotilla this week. Three start-of-summer hot spots—beyond the usual fare of Afghanistan, Iraq, a struggling economy and another seismic temblor somewhere on earth—that are reminders of the nanosecond speed with which life keeps retrograding these days.
And for the church on earth? I wouldn’t classify it as “blinding speed,” but truth is our own community of faith is facing a sea change, as well. Theologically? Probably not, though I’m sure I could fill this blog with quotations from significant thinkers, who are concerned that the church faces unprecedented challenges to her core understanding of biblical truth. A sea change ecclesiastically? Probably not, though there are just as many voices calling for social and policy change in the church—from homosexuality, to racial and gender equality, to ordination polity, to financial distribution and apportionment (the list can be lengthy). It’s very possible, as well, that we will have to face a sea change in our missions and evangelistic strategies. The burgeoning culture of secularism that dominates both the West and the East calls for radical new evangelistic strategies that can engage a culture that still wants to belong long before it seeks to believe. And shall we not build new bridges to the Islamic world as well? Surely, the Spirit of God can unleash a fresh wind of new outside-the-box thinking and evangelizing, can’t he?
The point? In a world of such uncertain but dramatic flux, with a church that faces her own sea changes, it is more than the right time to call the community of faith to gather before God in earnest collective prayer. Here at the Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University, we are doing just that. Sabbath, June 5, is designated as a special Day of Fasting and Prayer in this congregation and campus and community. A world to pray for, a church to pray for, each other to pray for—for this critical moment in history, shall we not claim the very promise of God? “‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me’” (Psalm 50:15 NKJV). Won’t you please join us in this Day of corporate calling upon Him?