Greetings from the Moderator JUNE 2018
VISIONS OF THE KINGDOM AROUND THE WORLD
This article comes to the editor Just in time, because my wife Beth, daughter Kristen, and I have just returned from a two-week exploration of religious worship traditions and expressions of Christian love I other parts of God’s Kingdom. We traveled nearly 5,000 miles (one way) during our time of discovery. Each stop gave us another opportunity to view of faithful members of the Body of Christ, united in worship and witness. It reminded me of the strength of our worshiping communities, in CFP, when we, disciples of Christ, are united in pursuit of common objectives.
We cruised from Miami to Barcelona, Spain, with stops in the Azores, Portugal, and four Spanish cities. We traveled for six days on extremely calm seas. The Captain said that he instructed his first officer to “iron the ocean.” I think it was more I the prayers of the 2,200 people on our journey asking for another divine command like the one in Matthew 8:23-27.
After the crossing, we arrived at St. Michael Island in the Azores. At our first rest stop in a small village we suddenly heard a band. Coming doing the street was a 20-person band (ages ranging from 6 to 60). Preceding the band were families with the father carrying a flag with a lone dove displayed. Each person was holding some item of religious significance. The band wound though the village collecting more families. When all were received they marched to the church in mass.
Their unity as worshipers united in faith was dramatic display of the power of a community in worship. Can you imagine the kind of witness our faith communities would make marching to God’s house--united in a single purpose to glorify God?
Each day on our journey we heard from a speaker, Ridley Pearson. He was speaking to us about a series of five books written for children. Each novel in the series takes place in one of the parks at Walt Disney World, and described the adventures of five teens fighting villains at night. The series is called the “Kingdom Keepers.”
It reminded me that, like the kids in these books, you and I are Kingdom keepers, with the mission of fighting against evil in the world and trying to make the Kingdom a safe and loving place. In the books, the children win their battles by working together. As the worshiping communities of Central Florida, the more we can do in collaboration to defend and build the Kingdom the more successful we’ll be in in fulfilling the Great Commission. What are your ideas for ways we can collaborate?
Our exploration also took us to Malaga, Spain where we toured the Malaga Cathedral, which was built between 1528-1782, with some post war restoration. The massive interior had numerous places where the faithful could pay homage to one of the Saints.
One location had a bronze image of Mary holding Baby Jesus. This location required worshipers to pay if they wanted to approach the statue; many did. Some would stand and pray; others would kneel and kiss the statue. I do not understand that kind of worship, but I liked the sign at the entrance of the area.
“The Lord is Here.
Do Not Pass.”
The second line read:
It is a powerful reminder that the Lord is with us and we should be in constant communication with Him.
Paul said, “Pray without ceasing.” Let all of us seek God’s direction, as we realize His power in our lives, individually and as members a of the Body of Christ, in this particular part of His kingdom called Central Florida.