Old, White, Country Boy Hits The City

1436559Last evening I climbed on my trusty steed and headed south toward Boston. The simple act of dealing with Boston traffic on two wheels might be adventure enough for some, (though its not something I would do just for fun) but I was on a mission. As part of my quest for the reflection of Christ in contemporary culture I was headed to a vision service called The City Boston.  I know – sounds vague – let me explain.

A short time ago in my post “Ripples”, I mentioned attending a denominational meeting where I heard about some potentially exciting things going on right here in New England. One of which is a movement of young adults who have been meeting every Wednesday evening at the Embaixadores (Ambassadors) Church of the Nazarene, in Pawtucket, RI. This dynamic group identify themselves as “The City” and their desire is to see the movement spread from Pawtucket to Boston. Thus the Vision Night held in a ballroom at the Holiday Inn, Somerville.

While I will share my experience and impressions in a moment, let me first direct you to a statement from the about page of their website:

“We are a community of young people dedicated to worshipping God with our whole lives. We are intentional about meaningful discipleship. We are commissioned by God to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our world. We believe this commission begins in our schools, at our jobs, in our homes & in our city.

We are real people, with real stories, living our lives for a real God.”

So what did this old, white, country boy see and learn? A lot. Without exaggeration, what I saw sparked hope, for this, and future generations.  In this multi-ethnic group of mostly 20 somethings (yeah, maybe I did feel kind of like a combination of Dick Clark and the Pillsbury dough boy) I saw genuine faith and a deep love for the God of the Bible who is the same yesterday, today and forever. The music was loud, the praise was exuberant, and the presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable. While my natural tendency in worship may be more quiet, reflective and, if not refined, reserved;  even I couldn’t resist a little hand raising and a few audible utterances of praise. There was nothing trumped up or artificial about it (I’ve been in those services), but a genuine, heartfelt longing, adoration, and excitement for God.

In his message, Pastor Shane referenced Acts 6:1, pulling out the phrase “In those days” and spoke of things from the 90’s (remember the age of his audience) that are now gone and all but forgotten. I guess it doesn’t matter what our age, it is always easier to look back than to see forward.  Yet, his task was to cast a vision, one in which the God of all ages is still the same and still active in the lives of those he sought to redeem, one in which Christ, the Redeemer is living and active to purify his bride, the church. The message rang true to a diverse audience and helped re-stoke the fire in my soul as well.

Remembering the quote from J. I. Packer about Christianity in North America being 3000 miles wide and a half-inch deep, I have stated that I seek the deep pools of faith. Well, I have found one. It’s located in Pawtucket, RI and spreading north to Boston. Then again, it’s not so much the geography that counts. Rather, as faith is a matter of the soul, the deep pool is found in this exceptional group of young adults who seek to serve God and love their neighbors in a way that is significant and relevant in post-modern culture.

Please join me in gratitude and prayer for Shane and the entire leadership team of The City. As always, I wish blessings to all.

Your friend and servant,

 

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