This is where God has called us to minister. Our response is to seek to discern what the Spirit of God is doing and to react to it, to meet the challenges that He is creating. Whatever model of mission I have sought to develop, it is not sectarian. I am reminded from this passage of how these Galilean nationalists came to Jesus to ask "Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?".
In other words when the Spirit comes in power it's going to be for us and it's going to be wonderful - that's how we think, isn't it? So when the Presbyterian General Assembly meets, or their Boards or Mission Agencies meet, they assume "When the Spirit comes it's going to be for US." Or the Baptists think "It's going to be for US." And the Pentecostalists think "It's going to be for US." That is not what the Spirit of God is doing.
Just over a year ago I went into the Sacristy of the local Catholic Church, St Mary's. We have introduced in Lucan, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, a pattern whereby we come and bring greetings to each other's churches. That was because I was so unhappy about the idea of exchanging pulpits. I just couldn't do it.
Preaching the Word of God is really important to me. So I suggested, and the local Parish Priest agreed, wouldn't it be wonderful if we just brought greetings before Mass or before Service?
So I went into the Sacristy and met the new Parish Priest, Father Tom. I said "My name is Trevor Morrow, Lucan Presbyterian Church" and he said "I am Father Tom, but I know who you are." And I said "How do you know who I am?". And he said "Do you remember preaching in the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin 20 years ago at a Catholic Youth Rally?"
And I said "Yes I do, Tom." And I remembered it for two reasons, because of what I had preached. I had chosen to preach on "By grace you are saved, through faith, and of that not of yourselves, lest anyone should boast.". It was not a polemical address, trying to show the superiority of a Reformed position over a Roman Catholic position, it was simply a celebration of the amazing grace of God.
I also remember it because it was the only occasion when I received a standing ovation for preaching the Gospel! There were hundreds and hundreds of Catholic students present. "Well," said Tom, "I responded to Jesus Christ that night. And, as a result, I entered the priesthood."
My response to him was "Please don't tell any of my colleagues in the North!"
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