Could God Use Scotland To Reconcile The World?

I've started writing up my experience of the Lausanne Congress. The theme of the congress was " God in Christ reconciling the world to himself " this text is found in 2 Corinthians 5.19 . Its an amazing text for it gives us a great hint about the nature of God. God is in the business of reconciling, he is the great cosmic peacemaker. Yet so often religion is blamed for the cause of so much war and violence. The truth is God is able to do what none of us can do by ourselves or even in community. He is able to reconcile justice and mercy. He does this through the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Understanding this reconciliation for me, is like looking at a diamond that has many sides to it. When we seek to emphasise one side over another we miss the glory of the diamond shining as a whole. Perhaps this is a good analogy to reflect more upon here South Africa the home of so many precious stones. Perhaps we have more to learn about reconciliation in South Africa than we might first think. Moving around South Africa peace and reconciliation is continually brought to mind as you see Blacks and Whites working together to try and create the "rainbow nation" that Mandela has striven to build. Standing in Desmond Tutu's St George's Cathedral, you couldn't help be moved to see the hand of God at work in bringing about a peaceful solution out of the evils of apartheid . I'm sure its not all rosy in the garden but its at least a country where peace and reconciliation have been modelled on gospel principles. The man worshipping next to me, said," We've been through some dark days but we can see the rainbow" Surely this was an appropriate theme to be considering here in South Africa. At the heart of this text is a global mission. God is bringing together all kinds of people who have been at odds with Him and each other to fulfil this great truth. This text reminds us that God wants to bring all people into his heart. As Christians we believe that he has called the Church to be the agent to bring this about. The Lausanne Congress was reminding church leaders from around the world that the Church is a global identity. This had been emphasised at the first great Missionary Conference in Edinburgh in 1910. Archbishop Temple described it as " the great new fact of our time" - a truly worldwide Christian church. Temple was referring to the realisation that many were coming to back then, that the church as a global identity has much to say to a world that is broken apart by injustice and poverty. If we are going to be effective churches and Christians today, we need to begin breaking down the walls that exist even among ourselves at a local level. Its made me see the significance of the Church Without Walls Movement for our Church of Scotland. Have a look at this video and encourage others to look at it and lets make sure we don't lose what God has already started to do in our Church. Remember at this event many hundreds of people re-dedicated themselves to the cause of Christ after hearing Dr John Sentamu the Archbishop of York address the crowd. We have a global commission and a local mission and both of these will only take root when we hold fast for the unity of the Church not only of Scotland but the Church in Scotland. [youtube][/youtube] Here is an amazing fact about Scotland and its place in world mission history. In the introduction to the book entitled " Edinburgh 2010 Then and Now", edited by Ken Ross and David Kerr, they ask the question, why was Edinburgh chosen as the conference venue for the very first missionary conference relating to the evangelisation of the world? The answer is that Scotland had an importance world wide for mission far beyond its size of its population. Here's what they say, " It had produced some of the most celebrated figures in he modern missionary movement; Robert Moffat, Alexander Duff, David Livingstone, John Philip, James Legge, Mary Slessor, to name but a few". They go on to say that it had established some of the most highly regarded centres of mission work, such as Lovedale in South Africa, Livingstonia in Malawi, and the Scottish educational institutions in India. It was because of this work that was supported from within the Scottish Churches that they were sure of the success of the first missionary conference in Edinburgh in 1910. One footnote to all this I notice that Jack McConnell the previous first minister of Scotland has been talking today in the news about the significance of the Scottish contribution at the moment to the present regeneration of Malawi, he likens it to the "Scots Second Coming". The truth of the matter is that it has been through the churches in Malawi that aid has been able to be given to the poor. The Scottish government are aware of the importance of these links. Perhaps we can all pray that there will be a new found confidence in the power of the gospel to unite the world and let us pray that Scotland once again will play her part.
1 Comment

Posted By: Mike Munro   On: 3 Nov 2010   At: 11:06am

Agree totally with your comment about it being about the Church in Scotland and not of. Unity is the key and being open to all who want to proclaim the Good News.I believe once we grasp this great things will happen.

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