Christianity Is Alive and Well.
By Janet Stobie
Last month, I was guest speaker at Bethel United, a small country church that sits alone at the edge of a gravel road, surrounded by farmers’ fields. While I was busy connecting my computer to their digital projector and setting up the Power Point program, the congregation gathered behind me. My task finished, I turned around and faced a church nearly filled with a mixture of young families and seasoned seniors. Excited children proudly showed congregation members their costumes. Laughter and conversation added to the electricity. God’s Spirit filled the room.
I slipped downstairs to find a choir of fifteen singers, their practice over, waiting for prayer. Sunday school teachers were scattered around them, preparing for their classes. Wow, I thought. God is definitely at work in this church.
Radio, television, and newspapers keep telling us mainline churches are dying. Bethel obviously doesn’t know it yet. Bethel isn’t the only lively United Church, nor the only lively Christian community in Canada. Actually, Christianity is alive and well. Yes, there are too many nearly empty churches, populated mostly by people with grey hair. But, many of those are vibrant communities of faith, bringing God’s love and justice to the world and providing comfort and strength for aging members.
As Christians we have a choice. We can focus on the scarcity or tell the story of abundance. The Lord told Habakkuk to write the vision, and make it plain. I think it’s time we started telling the story of congregations which have caught God’s vision for living love. Let’s give the world an opportunity to see the wonder of a thriving Christian community.
And then God answered: “Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming… “ (Habakuk 2:2-3)