Why the Day of Healing Prayer on Forgiveness? Why so important? Where do I begin to state the importance of this healing experience? It is a day that could be the most important day of your life. Let me explain for reasons that might surprise you. This week I’ve just returned from Dallas, where I received a reality check. It was the Anglican Church planting conference. The Anglican Church has a goal of planting one thousand new churches all across the United States in something they’re calling the Anglican 1000. But it was more than a church planting conference. It was a conference with the premise that churches aren’t healthy until they are reproducing themselves. It was a conference that over and over spoke to the need to be a church listening to culture so we can then enter into a life changing conversation with it! What I heard in Dallas, was consistent with what I’m reading, including last week’s edition of Time magazine. “The fastest growing religious group in America today is the category of people who say they have no religious affiliation. Social scientists in listening to them, call them the nones.” Nones defined are those who have spiritual leanings but refuse church participation. Their population doubled since 1990, from 8% to nearly 20% of our U.S. population today. The nones aren’t necessarily rejecting God, but they are rejecting church.” The nones would simply say that the local church is no longer the only outlet for spiritual growth. Faith is relevant but the church is not. Two very important reasons for this. First of all, there is an erosion of confidence and trust in the church as an institution. Many are saying “I’m done with the abuse scandals in the church; I’m done with the fierce theological debates.” One person said the church can be like a “super-market tomato, flavor-less and tough.” Combine those elements and you have what one called:
A participation crash.
This has resulted in an amazing increase of house churches, in fact so many are popping up that some have compared it to the 3rd great awakening in this country! Bishop Lawrence in his convention address to the Diocese of South Carolina on Saturday, March 10 quoted F.R. Berry saying: People today don’t care about the secondary questions of church order or the debates of ecclesiastical politics…
They want to know what’s right and what’s wrong, Who God is and how they can believe in him.
The nones want Christians they can reach out and dare I say, touch. The nones are hungering for an authentic touchable relationship with you. Where you and I say:
I invite you to walk alongside me
Examine my life
The way I live my life
See the evidence of the truth of Christ in my everyday life
Reach out and touch.
The none needs a no-strings attached offer from you and me to enter our lives as we follow Jesus. Before we get intimidated by that, remember that old saying: “God never chooses the qualified; He qualifies those whom he chooses.” Just like you don’t need to be educated before you go to school, you don’t need to be trained in order to share your Christian walk with another.
This is one of the reasons we have our Day of Healing Prayer dedicated to Forgiveness. Are there inside issues in your life that would prevent another from walking alongside you in ministry? Do you have a bitterness burning in your heart that keeps people out?
But another reason we do the day of healing prayer is this. We no longer have a country where if you build it they will come. This means we are being invited to meet people where they are. Telling our world outside that whether you are a lifelong Christian, a none or an agnostic, whatever or whomever you might be, we all deal with issues of forgiveness.
As one none said, if the church is willing to try something new, maybe I could try the church again!
For more information on Day of Healing Prayer go to www.stmichaelschurch.net/dohp.
~ The Rector