One: And the Lord said, I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.
One: Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider how you have fared. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored.
All: And the Lord stirred up the spirit of the leaders, of the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God.
One: I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
One: And the people went to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
One: Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.”
All: For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.
One: In our day we hear that the church is declining, that the church has not enough good news to share.
All: But today we bear witness to God’s goodness everyday and to hope born anew in Christ.
We tell ourselves that we are tired, that the best years are behind us.
All: God responds, The Spirit is breathing life into dry bones. It is time for our young people to dream and our older folk to see visions.
One: The gospel does not invite us to work towards decline and a narrative of failure. It calls us to a resurrection life – life lived in all its fullness – for the benefit of all who do not yet know or live this abundant life.
All: What if church didn’t only happen on a Sunday?
One: What if church is a community of people who are committed to their discipleship and their relationships with each other.
2. What if there are people who are brave enough to pray for each other – even standing on street corners or sitting at the bar; as their lives accidentally brush up against each other?
3. People who are able to cry.
4. And laugh.
5. And hope.
One: People who are bold enough to be creative, to experiment and to be expectant about meeting with God, wherever, whenever, with whomever.
2. People who love scripture and tell stories.
3. People who are willing to serve and give sacrificially because it is their heart’s desire.
4. What if church is a group of people committed to each other and to God? People who know that they cannot live this life on their own, and who seek out the best and the worst opportunities to be with others.
5. What if church is about living in a global world, where the size of the rainforest and the temperature of the sea matters? What if church is about bringing into existence a world where there is no malaria, HIV or cancer? Where the medicine is given freely to those in need.
One: Where justice becomes the plumb line for all our decision-making. And where people act out of abundant grace and generosity.
2. What if church is about loving the lonely and the hurting and the hurtful? People who are judged as worthless.
3. What if church is about discovering those things of beauty and worth and value that define the whole of humanity?
One: What if church acted with the prophetic impulse that says all this is because of Jesus – the author and the perfector of our faith? The powerful movements of Christian history have proved again and again, that when we face challenging tasks with deep prayer and faith in God, God will grant us the power to move forward. And all God’s people said, “AMEN.”AMEN