by Phil Miller–
Your former pastor, Rev. Lee Hull Moses, must be hopping busy this week. Her office is responsible for organizing the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which starts this Saturday morning and runs through the noon hour next Wednesday. This year Des Moines will host the Assembly.
A long time ago, my oldest brother had similar duties with the World Convention of Christian Churches, which took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was the summer of 1965. As a 16-year-old kid, I got to help with routine registrations as thousands of Christians arrived. My poquito bit of Español sufficed just enough to bridge the language gap with my Puerto Rican co-workers.
Two years ago, I attended the General Assembly in Indianapolis. You may see have seen my pinkish polo shirt with the theme from that event—“One.” The theme expressed and influenced the direction of our denomination. In the past, the music for worship came almost exclusively from Anglo-European sources. But two years ago, the “one-ness” of the church came to life with the “many-ness” of styles of music and worship. We are a church that includes people from different races and ethnic backgrounds. The voices of people of color, of African Americans, of Latino Americans, of Asian Americans, and of various subcultures resounded in the preaching, prayers, and music. E Pluribus Unum—many members, one Body of Christ.
This year I’ll stay behind, but I look forward to hearing stories from Melissa Guthrie Loy, Baylee Smith, and the many friends and colleagues of mine who will be in Des Moines. The theme, “Abide,” comes from the directive given by Jesus to the disciples (see John 15:1-5), “Abide in me, and I in you.” The context is the metaphor of the vine and the branches. “As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
My guess is that the interplay of bearing fruit (activism) and abiding (spirituality) will bring forth some dynamic preaching, worship, and resolutions. I also expect to be influenced, even though absent from the Assembly itself, by the power of this great theme. Let’s keep our General Assembly, and the Office of the General Minister and President, where Lee now works, in prayer this coming week.