Friday, June 03, 2005
Hello Faithful Readers,
I don't know if you're like me, but I know I am. I usually start a car journey with a full tank of gas and a clean car, or at least a clean windshield. So the first bug splat is very noticable; in fact the first few are. But after a while I hardly seem to notice the spotted and dirty windshield. Until I stop for gas, and clean the windshield. Upon re-entering the car I'm amazed at how dirty it was by contrast. My spiritual journey is similar. When it started out I seemed all new and shiney. Every bug splat was very noticeable. But after a while I seemed less disturbed by the splats. Until I have a cleansing experience, which helps me see in contrast what I can be. God is in the business of cleaning off the bug splats and giving me a new and fresh start. Conference is one of those renewing experiences with God and God's people. I love seeing more clearly again.
Day one of the 2005 Special World Conference is in the books. It was, as expected, a day of greetings, renewed friendships, and caching up. The rich colors and diversity of flowers is mirrored by the rich colors and diversity of the people here. God is indeed an extravagant God.
Conference attendees were again reminded of the many countries of the world where the Community of Christ either has an established church, or at least a presence. In the past the flag of each nation has been carried into the Auditorium Chamber by a person from that country, if possible, in cultural attire. This year all the flags were coiled on the rail of the balcony, and unfurled as the name of the country was read. It was still an impressive reminder of the presence of the Community of Christ in the world.
We sang, accompanied by a wonderful brass ensemble complete with tympanys, a bass drum, and cymbals. It was awesome. We were addressed by the Mayor of Independence, and also by congressman Cleaver, who received an honorary PhD from Graceland University.
Tonight was mostly getting the Conference "in order" and preparing to do the business of the special conference, which is pretty much sustaining Steve Veazy and the other newly appointed leadership in the Presidency, the Quorum of Twelve, and the Bishopric.
There is mixed emotion at this conference. Many people feel somehow saddened by the absence of Grant McMurray in the Presider's chair. An emotional video highlighted much of the growth in the last eight years of Grant's Leadership. At the same time there is a definite aire of excitement and anticipation looking forward to Steve Veazy's and the new Council of Twelve's leadership.
Tomorrow, and the remainder of the conference, promise to be a time of support, affirmation, and commitment to follow Jesus into the world. As each one offers their unique gift to the fulfillling of our mission, we complete the picture of Jesus ministering unto all.
May God help us all see clearly our part in the mission to promote Christlike communities in all the places we work, play, and live. And may God give us all a renewed sense of our worth in the process.
Have a Blessed day!
Conference photo albums are being posted here