CONVENTION 2021: HUNGER & THIRST
Unity and holiness. These two words, perhaps more than any others, have been the signature of the Church of God. We have always seen ourselves as uniquely called by God to be a catalyst for Christian unity, overcoming the divisions which have too often fractured the Body of Christ. And, we have always understood that holiness was the pathway to this end, unifying God’s people with a call to not just talk about Jesus but to actually become like Him: holy.
In the years 2020-2021, unity and holiness have become ever more elusive, it seems. Sharp divisions are evident at every turn, even in our churches. Raw edges, often along cultural, racial, and political lines, have become sharp and painful. We hunger and thirst for better days but dig in our heels when change or sacrifice come into view. We seek blessing but fear the land is cursed. We long for the future but hold on to the past. We strangely imagine that unity and holiness can be experienced alone, divorced from the experience and reality of others around us. We forget the questions of holiness that Jesus said we all must face at the Last Day and, instead, invent other tests for redemption. And, in all the drama, the visible manifestation of unity and holiness recedes. Jesus Himself can seem distant.
Something is missing.
I am hungry. I am thirsty. But, for what? For my own security and the preservation of the status quo? For predictability and order? For a return to my preferred history of the way things used to be? So far, craving these things have failed to satisfy or bring relief.
Jesus said (in Matthew 5:6), “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.”
Hmmm. Justice. Righteousness. The pulse of Jesus. Perhaps, we should hunger and thirst for these, above the rest. Again, Jesus said (in Matthew 6:33) “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously—justly–and He will give you everything you need.” A Kingdom of God’s righteousness. A Kingdom of God’s justice. His holiness. These are words and ideas all cut from the same cloth, the heart of Jesus. Let us chase these three: Justice. Righteousness. Jesus. Unity and holiness will inevitably follow. Can we be holy—can we be saved from all sin—can we be one people—if we deny the things that Jesus places front and center?
Next week, the General Assembly of the Church of God for the United States and Canada will host its biennial convention in Denver (June 26-29, 2021). The theme will unpack the promise of Jesus: Hunger & Thirst: For Justice. For Righteousness. For Jesus. It will be a dare for personal change. And, it will dare us to become instruments of change.
The Church of God Convention 2021 will be a fresh and dynamic scrub of timeless truth made all the more relevant by the demands and tumult of our time. Come hungry. Come thirsty. And be prepared to be filled. Satisfied. Charged up. And, renewed. On purpose.
General Assembly Constitution and Bylaws, Article 2
“The name of this body is the General Assembly of the Church of God. The purpose of the Assembly shall be to further the ends of the Church of God: unity and holiness. As a people embracing Jesus as Lord, the Church of God strives to follow Him, as He defined His ministry in Luke 4:16-21, anointed by the Spirit to: proclaim, heal, free, and restore, while conscious of the risks and costs of so doing.”