Currently I’m sitting in a gym in Scarborough at Seneca College. I am here for the 139th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. For the un-initiated, the General Assembly (I will refer to it as: GA, Assembly, #ga139) is the superior court of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The Assembly meets once a year (near or at the beginning of June) and consists of 1/3 of the ordained ministers in our church and an equalizing number of elders (lay leaders within the church). We meet to discern God’s will for our church and to rule on points of church governance. The Assembly meets in a different location every year (the last time I was at Assembly, it was in Sydney, Nova Scotia!).
Assembly can be mind-numbing and frustrating at times, but it can also be a place of hope for the future of our church, a place where we remember that we are in this together, a place where we can encourage each other in being the hands and feet of Jesus reaching out to a world in need.
One of things I have heard more than once in conversation so far in this Assembly, is the longing for our church to be healthy and vital. This makes me smile. Because I have heard so often the concerns and problems that we face. I have heard so often the fear and the frustration with our church. I have heard so often the difficulties and the lack of solutions.
To hear, instead, a longing for health and vitality is a very good thing. Two years ago I longed to be healthier, to be slimmer, to be stronger. And then I made some decisions about how I eat and what I do with my time. Today I am healthier, slimmer and stronger. This trend in my personal life will only continue.
As a church, as we long for health and vitality, we also have the ability to make some good decisions about how we do things. And if we follow through on those decisions, we will find ourselves healthier and more vital. I believe this is what God longs for, for us. I believe there is hope for our future. I believe that the honest, heart-felt longings that I am hearing expressed may be the powerful catalyst that this church needs to embrace a better future.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself
and God our Father,
who loved us and by his grace
gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope,
comfort you and strengthen you
in every good thing you do and say.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NLT