I am deep into my first full day at the 207th General Synod of the Reformed Church in America. For those who are not familiar with the RCA, General Synod is the annual gathering of minister and elder delegates from around the United States and Canada who gather to discern together the will and direction of God for the denomination. We began last night with a brief (albeit hot with no air conditioning) plenary session, and concluded the evening with worship.
I have been struck deeply by the themes of unity and transformation. It is clear that those who have structured the events of our Synod sense that the message of our unity in Christ needs to be brought to the forefront. Our General Synod President Tom Smith has called us to see Jesus where we are, where we serve, where we worship, and in our conversations surrounding “hot topics” that may come up throughout our assembled time together.
Today I’m struck by two things:
1. The Holy Spirit’s call is clear: we need to find our unity in Christ. We are created in the image of God, adopted sons and daughters of God. Our identity as people who belong to God needs to be brought to the front, perhaps especially when we disagree.
2. Something is coming. If you talk to any of the delegates, they can feel it. Every prayer concern around my table last night was about the “temperature” of General Synod, and not the physical temperature and lack of A/C. We all know that things will be discussed at this Synod that could threaten our unity. We desperately want unity, but we know something is coming. And so, tonight I’m going to make John 17 my prayer, just as Jesus prayed, that our unity in Christ would be made manifest so that the world might see and give God the glory.