Where can you find a Catholic priest, a Black grandmother and a Messianic Jew dancing together? The answer is important today with the social tension that has seized our beloved America, pitting us against each other. Agitators want to stir us up and make us angry with people of other races or beliefs. But there is another way we can live in peace with each other. Not an uneasy peace or surface tolerance, but living with true brotherly love.
Forty years ago this summer, I was privileged to attend the 1977 Conference on Charismatic Renewal in the Christian Churches in Kansas City. The conference took place in the midst of a spiritual renewal that swept the world beginning in the 1960s.
My journey toward Kansas City actually began four years earlier. I had always believed in God, but he seemed very distant, and Jesus was just a historical figure to me. And then I learned through my mother-in-law that Jesus was alive! My life turned around as I learned more about life in Christ.
Part of my journey included attending a weekly prayer meeting at Corpus Christi Church, where people of many denominations gathered to praise and worship the Lord. Some of my husband’s family attended similar meetings in Aberdeen. The way opened for us all to attend the Kansas City conference.
A chartered bus picked up a delegation from Bismarck, and then made stops along Interstate 94, where others waited to board with suitcases and big smiles. At Aberdeen, we picked up the largest group of people. It was such a happy crowd. A young brother from the monastery at Richardton led singing all the way down. We must have sung The Lord is a Great and Mighty King at least 50 times!
That happy beginning continued for the next five days. Once in KC, there were hundreds of teaching sessions to choose from during the day. Then in the evening about 50,000 people gathered at the Royals stadium.
This prairie girl had never seen so many people, let alone so many people worshipping God with all of their hearts. I couldn’t but help but notice the Black women next to me, who worshipped with tambourines and the Messianic Jews with their long beards, who worshipped Yeshua, another name for Jesus. We were all one in the Lord that week.
Our joy spilled over on all of Kansas City. And the world noted it. Headlines in the Kansas City Times read: “City Enjoying Biggest, Cleanest, Happiest Rally” and “Stadium Resounds With Praise.” The conference made the headlines from New York to Miami to Los Angeles.
To praise God is to invite his presence. And in his presence is fullness of joy. This is stated so well in Psalm 16: 11. “You have made known to me the path of my life.” That’s from the NIV.
And if we want peace, Ephesians 2: 14 states that Jesus is our peace. The New Living translation of the Bible puts it this way. “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.”
Oh how we need the walls of hostility broken down in our nation. But we humans, with our finite abilities, will never succeed without the power of God. We will not see the power of God, until we open our hearts to him.
Update on Secrets of the Dark Closet
August 24 was a bell-ringer day. First, three boxes of books arrived on our doorstep. So if anyone wants a signed copy, let me know!
Then the trailer for Secrets of the Dark Closet became available. I clicked on the link and…was dumbfounded. It’s captivating. Appealing. Beautiful music. Spare, accurate story line. Lovely pictures…
But, it’s so modern compared to the story. Like Bessie, I asked, “What to do? What to do?” Say yes to the trailer, or ask the publisher to make it look like 1899 instead of 2017? But the truth is, the theme of the book is timeless and relevant for today. Maybe it’s appropriate to give it a modern look. I said yes! So, you be the judge. What do you think? Here is the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkI_6fYBlwY