By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin
Sometimes it is more important to know how we are going than to have a clear sense of where we are going. How do we move forward with integrity, faithfulness, and hope? What is the quality of our relationships with self, God, others, and creation? Are we being who we say we are? Are we awake to the presence of God, even in challenging situations?
To use the oft-quoted phrase, “it’s the journey, not the destination” that really matters. That resonates for me for several reasons. First, the Restoration tradition has been described throughout history as a people on the move, always living in the “almost, but not yet,” a pilgrim people. We are walking into the way as it unfolds before us. Such is the daring prophetic edge of Continuing Revelation.
Sometimes it is more important to know how we are going than to have a clear sense of where we are going.
These vital concepts have been at the heart of our movement, but the instability and uncertainty in many cultures is bringing them to the center of our awareness and community practice in fresh and pressing ways. We are being asked to embody what we always have known: God is with us, continually revealing a new thing.
The reunion 2023 materials come from this place. Preparing for reunion in a World Conference season always brings some ambiguity. We do not yet know how the Spirit will move in the body. We do not yet know what topics will rise in our collective imaginations as the most important for discussion and deliberation.
We are in a “wait and see” mode even as we prepare for formational experiences post-Conference. Trying to be faithful to this reality, the reunion 2023 materials offer a structure for communities to notice and name what is most significant to process from the World Conference experience.
We are being asked to embody what we always have known: God is with us, continually revealing a new thing.
The theme for reunion, “God, Where Is Your Spirit Leading Next?” offers wide possibilities for communities to discern their way into the future. The class structure invites adults into discernment practices on issues the community decides are most important. Children and youth materials also center on discernment practices, cultivating openness to God from a young age.
This intentional design is giving us opportunity to practice our Enduring Principle of Continuing Revelation through community discernment, providing space to explore topics before the church that are most significant for each context.
We invite reunion planners, presiders, and participants to join us in deep listening over the next few months to pay attention to what feels most important to the church and community as we move through World Conference.
Read about reunion 2023 daily themes and resources.
Notice which topics you feel called to explore together. Notice what it means in your context to cultivate an attitude of attention and faithfulness to God as we engage challenging issues with deep love and respect. Notice how it feels to walk the way of Christ together in a changing world, mindful of each faithful step, aware of how we are walking together, even when we don’t know where we are going or how it will all end up.
We can know that we walk with God and with each other into all the places we are called to go. Into the sacred mystery of God’s unfolding future, we journey with courage!
As a prophetic people…discern the divine will for your own time and in the places where you serve. You live in a world with new challenges, and that world will require new forms of ministry.