It was an assembly that represented hundreds of different church groups and denominational affiliations.
We heard speaker after speaker.
After a while their messages, many of which were genuinely inspiring, began to blend together.
I must admit that I don’t remember the vast majority of what was conveyed during those three days.
There was one moment, however, that I will never forget.
Author and pastor Max Lucado stood at the podium and made a simple request: “On the count of three, would you please shout out loud the name of the church tradition with which you are currently associated?”
We all proclaimed our affiliation. I was actually pretty lucky. All I had to shout was “Presbyterian!” The guy who was sitting just in front of me, no kidding, had to say, “The Church of God of Prophecy Incorporated!”
What everyone heard echoing through the Georgia Dome was an undifferentiated blob of sound.
Then Lucado made a second request.
“On the count of three, would you please shout the name to whom you have entrusted your heart, your soul, your ministry, your hopes for this day, and your confidence concerning tomorrow?”
There rose, in unison, the sound of just two syllables that filled that entire dome: JESUS.
In the moment that followed, there was absolute silence – not an easy thing to accomplish in a group of 40,000 pastors.
It was as if the leaders of God’s people, so frequently at odds with each other over the most trivial of issues, were suddenly struck dumb by the realization that we have always had in common far more than we have ever allowed ourselves to imagine.
It’s amazing how complicated we can make things.
May God give us the grace to find each other, day by day, at that simple intersection:
The Name at the center of everything.
— Authored by Glenn McDonald
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