It’s starting to become normal. Routine. Old hat, even. All four of the downtown churches are working together on a couple of Vacation Bible Schools at two elementary campuses? They’re building wheelchair ramps together? Side-by-side, Baptists and Presbyterians and Methodists and Church of Christs? They’re all going to worship together tonight at First Pres?
We’ve only been at this for a little more than two years now, but I can sense the novelty has worn off. Every event was celebrated with great enthusiasm during that first year: each pulpit swap, every service project, the prayer gathering, both combined worship assemblies, the Easter week services. There was wide-eyed amazement that our four congregations were tearing down the denominational walls between us in order to better reach our city for Christ. There was a complete embrace of the concept of Christian unity as the will of the Christ and the work of his Spirit. And we all rushed in to participate.
This is our annual 4 Amarillo week of service projects and worship. Together we are feeding and teaching, loving and playing with more than 400 children at San Jacinto and Wills Elementary Schools. We’re building five wheelchair ramps and installing them at the homes of five families in our downtown neighborhoods. Participation has been high. Enthusiasm has been great. But it just seems so normal now.
And that’s really, really good. Right? Of course, it’s good! That we should regard as perfectly normal Baptists and Presbyterians serving food together, Church of Christers and Methodists teaching Bible stories together, and all four of our churches singing “Victory in Jesus” and praying together is a tremendous accomplishment. It’s beyond my wildest dreams. It far exceeds my biggest hopes when Howie and Burt and Howard and I first committed to regular meals and prayer times together in the fall of 2011.
I just don’t want us to lose the wonder. I don’t want us to ever forget how truly special this is. I want us to be continually aware that only a very few Christians in our country, much less our state or region, ever get to experience what we do here. Let’s not grow indifferent about this. Let’s praise our God and see this as the earth-altering, barrier-breaking work of the Gospel among us that it really is.
Tonight we all gather at First Presbyterian to celebrate God’s work this week in our city. We will sing and pray and read the Holy Scriptures. Howard will talk to us about unity and the unique witness our partnership is to the power of our Lord. We’ll watch a slide-show that re-caps this wonderful week of Christian service. And then we’ll share ice-cream together.
Normal? Yeah, by now, it kinda is.
Old hat? Never!