I have been receiving emails all day today acknowledging the success of our Annual Business Meeting last night.
In 40 minutes we heard reports, elected 3 deacons and passed a resolution.
One of the pillars of our church, Ruth Sennese, commented (in a very positive sense) that it was the "fastest business meeting she had ever attended."
But what struck (and encouraged) me the most were the comments I have received concerning the unity that everyone felt last night.
The cost of the paper to print out the ballots and reports (ask Bob Konrath about that) - I don't know.
The cost of setting up the chairs and having the lights on (ditto - ask Bob)- I don't know.
The cost of unity in our church - priceless.
I am grateful to God for that unity.
Last week I once again caught most of the movie, "Gladiator", one of my favorite movies of all time.
In the movie, the hero, General Maximus (played by Russell Crowe) comes to Rome dirty and shackled. This is not the way it's supposed to be.
Where's Rome's legendary pageantry to greet one of her war heroes—the heraldry, the burnished armor, the laurel crown? Where's the honor due him?
Maximus comes as a slave.
That's the premise of the movie Gladiator.
Through a maze of events, Maximus goes from celebrated warrior, favorite of one emperor, to despised traitor, nemesis of another. He becomes a fugitive, then caged slave, then unvanquished gladiator.
His growing fame in the arena brings him to the sport's pinnacle: Rome's magnificent Coliseum to face her elite warriors.
The games open with a re-enactment of the battle of Carthage. The gladiators, all foot soldiers, are cast as the hapless Carthaginians. It is a stage for slaughter.
They are marched out a dark passageway into brilliant sunlight and met with a roar of bloodlust.
Maximus, their leader, shouts to his men: "Stay together."
He assembles them in a tight circle in the center of the arena: back-to-back, shields aloft, spears outward. Again he shouts, "Whatever comes out that gate, stay together."
What comes out that gate is swift and sleek and full of terror. Chariot upon chariot thunder forth. War horses pull, with deadly agility and earthshaking strength, wagons driven by master charioteers.
Amazonian warrior princesses ride behind and with deadly precision hurl spears and volley arrows. One gladiator strays from the circle, ignoring Maximus's order, and is cut down. Maximus shouts once more: "Stay together!"
The instinct to scatter is strong. But Maximus exerts his authority, and they resist that impulse. The chariots circle, closer, closer, closer. Spears and arrows rain down on the men's wood shields. The chariots are about to cinch the knot. Right then Maximus shouts, "Now!"
The gladiators attack, and decimate the Romans. Commodus, the evil emperor, caustically remarks to the games organizer: "My memory of Roman history is rusty, but didn't we beat Carthage the first time?"
Whatever comes out that gate, stay together.
That echoes what Jesus prayed for us: "May they be brought to complete unity" (John 17:23). And he promises that the gates of hell will not overcome his church.
We've been talking about spiritual warfare.
I would suggest that as long as we "stay together" in unity, the fiery darts of the devil cannot touch us or harm us.
I would suggest that as long as we "stay together" we can fulfill the God-given vision that He has given us.
And...I would suggest that as long as we "stay together" we will experience a Holy Spirit revival of worship and power.
May be continue to be blessed with unity this day, this week, this year, and in the years to come.
It could have been a hairy nosed-wombat
1 hour ago