Standing before those gathered, he starts by referring to the past. He begins to retrace history, talking about the whens and the whats of the past. But anyone with ears to hear, listens as more than just dates are being given. The leader weaves into this history some of the whys that go with whens and whats. Each turn in history, east twist of fate, is offered with a unique perspective of why that event is significant today. And before he is through, the past has been brought to the present, and the present is made important because of the impact it plays on the future.
This well could describe the speech given by any corporate leader standing before shareholders, presenting the company's latest plans for expansion. It could easily be the military general, addressing the gathered troops on the eve of their campaign. It could be the patriarch and oldest of the generations of family, sitting around the table after the meal, holding forth for all who will hear. Or, it could be the prophet from ancient scriptures, bringing back the people to their destiny. I'm thinking about Moses or Joshua standing before the people about to enter the Promised Land (read in Deuteronomy 27).
Doesn't it also resemble the words spoken by the preacher on Sundays where Holy Communion is celebrated? The liturgy of the church recalls not just God's saving acts throughout history, but also makes clear the reason why God has acted with such power and might: His great love for us.
But this specific instance actually happened this past weekend at a baptism. I was privileged to stand before a congregation in Statesboro and hold my niece, Wesley Diane Hagan, and talk about how God's grace in the past will change her future, for good. That very moment brought full circle events that had happened in that very place over 70 years before. Our God is amazing.
This is the very essence of why our church gathers every week for worship, and even every year for Homecoming. To hear again our history, more than What and When, but also the Why. We are here to change lives, make disciples of Jesus Christ, all for the transformation of the world.
Grace and Peace, Scott