As One Body...In Christ
There is nothing that shouts excitement like hundreds of Christians gathered together all anticipating their adventure of a lifetime to begin in a matter of weeks.
It was a weekend in April when I arrived in the Denver Airport. Mid-terms at Liberty University recently ended and I was glad to exchange the schoolwork, the dorms, and even the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for a few days of worship and fun in the Rockies (the magnificent mountains that make East Coast mountains become hills). Nervous but excited I was greeted by an outdoorsy-looking and friendly bunch of folks all gathered around a stuffed animal moose head if I am recalling correctly- the indicator of the ACMNP meeting spot. Within the first few conversations I had in that gathering of ACMNP-ers I knew I had found my people. Passion for the Lord and hearts pounding for impending adventure were apparent on the faces and in the words of my new friends. And the buzz did not fade for the whole weekend.
As I met new faces on the bus ride to Estes, in line for registration, at meals and as we passed a football and explored the park in our down time some of the common questions we would ask upon meeting each other was “Where are you from?”, “Which park are you headed to?”, and occasionally “What denomination do you belong to?”. What I found as a result of this question-asking was a realization that despite starkly different upbringings and backgrounds, our common love for the Lord, ministry and adventure was more than enough grounds for great friendships to be built upon and I looked forward to a summer with these people with greater anticipation.
As I reflect on that refreshing escape in the Rockies one memory stands out in particular. It had been a long weekend of seminars, team building and ministry training when all of us ACMNP- ers were gathered in our main training area ready to enter a final time of worship. As I looked around I saw many of my new friends all sitting with their respective teams for the upcoming summer. Friends who were from the West, Mid-west, East and South. Some Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Methodist, and Catholic friends. The part that caused this moment to be rooted into my mind was the realization that each these new found friends was worshiping the same God together in one body and Spirit. In Christ.
“In Christ” would be a catch phrase that rang in my mind for the coming weeks as I reflected on the training weekend and looked forward to the summer. This summer we would work, play, and minister not just side-by-side but as one body … in Christ.
“There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Ephesians 4:4-6 (ESV)