In one week, the congregation I pastor will celebrate its 112th anniversary of its first gathering together. The world in which we live today is much different than it was when a group of people gathered in a farmer’s field and held what was described as a camp meeting service.
The community of Shelburne was not much more than a village at the time. The words which were effectively spoken in reference to a life of faith lived out for God were very different from those which we need to use to be effective today. The English language, which is what I speak, has changed much over the years. I do recognize there are still places and people where little has changed and the world responds with the criticism, faith lived out for God is archaic and outdated.
The foundation of faith, God’s Word and the principles which it declares have universal application and have not changed. We face the challenge of being true to what God declared, while at the same time being relevant in how we communicate it.
Throughout the years the message of saying YES to the relationship with God through His Son, Jesus has been proclaimed by the faithful of our congregation. Also the Biblical message of holiness continues to be proclaimed. It is now our responsibility to clarify what that means to a culture which has very little to no understanding of what that means, or its application to daily living.
In a relationship setting, there is an initial YES to a proposal, but for the relationship to move forward and become all it is meant to be, there must come a time when there is a full and lasting commitment where the individuals pledge their lives to each other. Beyond the “I do” and the “I will” there must also be the a willingness to grow out the details of what that means.
“Holiness” is the commitment and expression of perfectly aligning our life with pure, selfless love as demonstrated by Jesus. This message is not archaic, but real, relevant and reliable for today. Holiness is alive and well in our world as we choose to exhibit its qualities in and through our life.
As we continue to work at the process of making God’s Word and the application of its message
pertinent to the changing winds of our culture, it will continue to make a difference in the lives of people, regardless of the date on a calendar.