Thursday, October 04, 2012

Move in our midst: A reflection from the Annual Conference moderator.

Bob Krouse
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Bob Krouse
"Move in Our Midst" has been chosen as the theme for the 2013 Annual Conference. It also is the title of the hymn “Move in Our Midst,” with lyrics written by the late Brethren poet and hymn writer Ken Morse. “Move in Our Midst” has been a favorite hymn at Annual Conferences over the years. Here is moderator Bob Krouse’s reflection on this theme:

As we continue the work of Jesus, it is important to invite Jesus to continue to work in us. It is clear that God isn't finished with us yet. Each of our churches and all of our members need a fresh touch from the Holy Spirit to restore what is broken, refresh weary members, and revive vital ministries. Paul puts it this way, "For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). When we gather in Charlotte, N.C., from June 29 to July 3, 2013, let us invite the Spirit of the living God to move in our midst, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

I affectionately refer to the hymn “Move in Our Midst” as the Brethren National Anthem. Ken Morse, who wrote the lyrics, was born in 1913 and so 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of his birth. It seems fitting to convene our 227th recorded Annual Conference under the theme “Move in Our Midst.” The verses of this hymn are words of urgent petition and heartfelt prayer:

“Move in our midst, thou Spirit of God...
Touch thou our hands to lead us aright...
Strike from our feet the fetters that bind...
Kindle our hearts to burn with thy flame...
Spirit of God, O send us thy pow'r!”

I'm suggesting that this theme be underscored by this promise: “For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

This is a challenging time for our church. We are not of one mind on a number of important issues and we haven't always been at our best as we've wrestled with our differences. As we gather in Charlotte, N.C., next summer let us humble ourselves and pray that God will move in our midst, to restore, refresh, and revive us.

Saturday: “Move in Our Midst,” Philippians 2:13, 2 Chronicles 7:14: Our desire to continue the work of Jesus places the emphasis on what we are called to do. Yet, like clay in the potter's hand, we need to place our lives in God's hands. The hymn, "Move in Our Midst" is an invitation: O God, move in our midst and continue to work in our lives! Paul reminds us, "It is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

Sunday: “Touch Us,” Ezekiel 36:26-27: God created each of us with a longing for intimacy. However, the demands and challenges of life can grind us down and make it difficult to experience the kind of intimate relationship God desires. God wants to touch and transform our hearts: "I will give you and new heart and a new spirit," says the Lord.

Monday: “Teach Us,” Ephesians 4:11-13: Jesus said, “Go and make disciples, teaching them....” Jesus taught in such a way that his disciples were not merely informed, they were transformed. The work of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers is to equip the saints for the work of ministry. Equipping involves the kind of mending and mentoring that enables the saints to develop mature faith, cultivate healthy relationships, and be more like Jesus.

Tuesday: “Transform Us,” Ephesians 4:30-32: In a culture where personal initiative and rugged individualism are prized, spiritual transformation is thought of as a personal goal rather than a joint venture. Yet, if the community of faith is going to function as the body of Christ, the work of transformation must become a joint venture. "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit" with things like "bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander," Paul writes. These things impair our ability to function as the body of Christ. The transforming power of the Spirit will enable us to let go of bitterness and anger so we can practice kindness and forgiveness.

Wednesday: “Transport Us,” Matthew 9:38, Luke 4:18-19: The One who longs to touch us and teach us and transform us, yearns to transport us to wherever there are people who are afraid or alone or angry or addicted or abandoned. We are called to bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. We must go as care takers and relief workers who are also disciple makers! When those who are afraid and addicted and abandoned become free in Jesus they will be free indeed!

Bob Krouse, moderator
2013 Annual Conference

Source: 10/04/2012 Newsline

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