The year of celebrating the 150th birthday of the Christian Reformed Church is drawing to a close. Across North America we’ve remembered, rejoiced, and rededicated ourselves to God’s service.
If our Lord tarries and our denomination still exists, what will we look like in another 150 years? Who can say? One safe guess is that the CRC will be as different from what we are now as we are from those original five churches that started us off a century-and-a-half ago. In a changing world, that’s as it should be.
But I pray that some things won’t ever change. I’ll bet you do too. It would be fun to compare wish lists.
Just to start the ball rolling, here’s my list of hopes for the CRC in the year of our Lord (comforting words, those) 2157:
- I hope that whatever worldviews follow postmodernism, they won’t have deflected the CRC from its dogged commitment to believe and do what God’s Word teaches. And I hope that the generations in between will always care enough to keep on questioning and debating exactly what that is—so that the Holy Spirit has room to keep them growing in faith, love, hope, and relevance.
- I hope that in A.D. 2157 we will have succeeded in “burning our wooden shoes” and be representative of the bunch that will be gathered around Christ’s throne in glory (Rev. 7:9).
- Perhaps by then folks will have microchips surgically implanted in their brains, allowing them to interconnect with each other without ever getting out of bed. So “virtual congregations” could easily replace real ones. I hope the CRC will remain sufficiently retro to worship together in person so that the real Jesus, not a virtual one, may be experienced in the midst of people who are gathered together by God’s choice more than by their own.
- I hope that the gospel will still be proclaimed by flesh-and-blood preachers and not by some kind of centralized Grollywood (Grand Rapids Hollywood) production that gets piped in locally. And, no, my clerical “union” didn’t make me say that.
- I hope those folks will be just as hard-headed as the early CRC folks were in insisting that Jesus is Lord of all of life and trying ever so hard to live out of that reality. And I hope they’ll do it in ways I can’t even now imagine.
- I hope the CRC will still enable us to do lots of stuff that we can do so much better together than alone.
- I hope we’ll have merged back with the Reformed Church in America, from whom we should never have broken away in the first place.
- I hope we’ll still have our virtual church-family kitchen table to visit over—one with a cooler name than The Banner.
Why try to envision a century-and-a-half from now? Because it helps us sort out what really matters today. It helps us to name God’s grace as it continues to flow richly through all the generations.
What’s on your list?