The best part of our Sunday night at Up Town is the sharing time. We praise God for the work we see God doing in our lives. We thank him and share honestly what is going on in our broken lives. After a time of doing this we turn to prayer. Many of our topics of prayer are the same as other churches. We have been praying for victims of earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear contamination, wars and rumours of wars. Because we are highly interactive, prayer time was interrupted by a discussion on whether these were ‘end times’. As we paused to consider the question I realised that though I had been asked this same question many times over the years of my ministry, this was a group that seemed to feel hopeful at the thought. These are folks who deal with the affects and stigma of mental illness every minute of every day and long for the final redemption of all things.
I know more of God than I did when I first wrestled with this question, but I find myself much less sure of the definitive answer. Perhaps this is because the exact time is not ours to know. We talked about signs of spring: crocuses, robins, longer days, warmth. The sight of each sign heartens us and makes us long for the coming of spring. We even put an artificial date on it, March 21, but we know spring doesn’t start on our timetable. It seems that this is the way of the winding down of history. We have signs and at times like these they are in abundance! We know with each passing day that the time is closer than ever before and these signs tell us our redemption is drawing near. Signs of spring give us hope and cause us to long for the end of cold winter and the life that spring alone can bring. The signs change us inwardly.
As I looked on the faces of friends who longed for the Kingdom of love and justice to finally be established I was challenged by my own ambivalence about His coming. I learn a lot at Up Town!
Last night I found myself a little ‘antsy’ and couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Then it occurred to me that it was because there was no SOS last night. I have been reading a book “We Have Recovered” by Steve Baugh, who is the Director of the Church army in the USA, and it has inspired me to lead a five week course on the Biblical principles of Recovery. I am working on the curriculum now and hope to have a course to offer in June.
I will be leading a “Moving Missional” workshop in Richmond Corners April 9th and value your prayers.