Momentum (Christ – centred, Spirit – empowered, Mission – focused)
In November, Agnes and I had the amazing opportunity to attend a national prayer conference in Cuba. This was a miraculous event, in that it was actually approved by the Cuban Government. It was one of the most moving experiences of our lives. Over 450 church leaders representing 50 denominations met together with one agenda: to pray for unity and revival in the Cuban church. I was overwhelmed with great emotion as I watched Cuban church leaders from these denominations wash each other’s feet as a sign of humility and unity for the cause of Christ. Tears flowed freely as pastors carefully poured water over each other’s feet and wiped them with a soft towel. Sobs from deep within rose as sacred prayers to God; walls of division and hostility between churches were being dismantled in a spirit of radical love. I stood in awe at what was a miracle of God’s grace. This is not explainable apart from a powerful outpouring of God’s Spirit.
A few years earlier, this amazing movement began in the hearts of our Alliance leaders in Cuba, who had a vision to see the churches of Cuba united in prayer. We are the smallest denomination there, and we are not even recognized as an official church, yet God chose to use us to draw the churches of Cuba together into a powerful prayer movement that is transforming the entire spiritual climate of the country. In the environment of radical humility and unity, the power of God is being unleashed. As one Baptist pastor put it so powerfully, “Doctrine will never unite us…it must be a work of the Holy Spirit…there is no better hermeneutic than the Holy Spirit.” The passion of our leaders in Cuba is to see a movement of churches so filled with the Spirit that they will become a sending nation to the world. The hope is that from this people will emerge a mighty army of grace and hope going out to the uttermost parts of the globe. The cry went up among these leaders in Cuba and grew to a mighty crescendo declaring, “Cuba for Christ! Cuba for the nations!” Prayer, unity and mission in the same breath…a stunning trinity of renewal.
On the closing night of the conference, a group of 20 Alliance leaders gathered around Agnes and me. They wanted to bless us and inspire us to take back this passion for prayer, unity and mission to Canada. One of our Cuban Alliance pastors took my hand and turned it palm-up, in a receiving posture. He then cupped his hand as if he were holding something. He declared, “In my hand is the flame of this mighty movement of God in Cuba. I am placing it in your hand to take back to Canada. May God expand the flame to your churches and bring unity for his glory.” I was deeply humbled by his gesture of love and grace toward our churches.
My soul was stirred to call our churches in Canada to lay down those things that so easily divide us and to focus on our call to exalt Christ, to embrace the fullness of our inheritance in Christ and to give Christ to a lost world. It is not about being right, but rather about surrendering ourselves to the Holy Spirit and trusting him to bring us together with fresh faith, clear vision and holy boldness. Perhaps, in our denomination, it is time to wash one another’s feet, as a sign of our willingness to humbly embrace unity in our diversity. Perhaps it is time to enter into a season of passionate prayer for a contagious unity that would be catalytic in inspiring a movement that could unite the denominations in Canada. May we allow the same spirit of radical prayer, unity and mission being poured out in Cuba to flow into Canada and fill us with new joy and new hope for the future. I have my towel ready…how about you?
“There is no field for faith so vast and so sublime as the mission field of to-day, and there is no limit to the possibilities which faith may claim” — A.B. Simpson
Please find the original version in C&MA website