“The Cathedral Is Not Important…”
There is something about evangelism - sharing the gospel with another - which touches the core of our faith. I thought Pastor Daniel Ho did that when he spoke at three of our Services last Sunday. Somehow, we were brought back to something that is basic, primal and “home.”
As I look back at my own life, those moments when I led a person to Christ felt like I have touched heaven.
On many occasions, Jesus Himself asks us to share the gospel. It was the first thing the early Christians did when the Holy Spirit filled them: they worshipped and witnessed. Worship is witness. Worship is often done in public because when we worship, we are witnessing about His goodness to others. Jesus has said that if we do not worship-witness, the very stones will cry out! If we can only worship within the confines of the church but not in the world, then we need to re-examine our faith.
We cannot share something we do not have or be a witness to something we have not experienced. The authenticity of our faith comes to the fore when we are sharing the gospel. The reverse is also true: we may not be sharing our faith if we are not walking in it.
If as a church, we are not concerned about the Gospel, we will miss the very heart of why the Church exists. We may do missions activities or feed the poor. But if the gospel is never preached, and the salvation of others not longed for, we will have missed the mark.
I had an unforgettable meeting with Canon J. John on a hot afternoon in 2016, soon after I became Vicar of the Cathedral. It sounded like a chance meeting but I believe it was a divine appointment. He said, “Terry, the Cathedral is not important. Forget about her. Instead, focus on the Gospel. Give top priority to it.” It came from someone who is twice a canon and an adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury on evangelism.
I got what he was trying to say. The glory of the church is about her Lord. And it is Him whom we are constantly worshipping and testifying to. The gothic building, the location, our rich history and heritage may be important and have their place. However, it is the good news we carry which is far more important. We should not confuse the content with the packaging. St Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay…"
I believe that the Celebration of Hope (COH - 17-19th May 2019), like previous national initiatives, has the potential to call the church back to her first love. I find it providential and amazing that it is the same J. John who will be the main rally speaker at these COH events. When he said those words two years ago, he had no idea that one day, the Lord will task him to lead a Mission which will involve the Cathedral.
The Cathedral has one monthly meeting which meets at an unusual time: 7.14 pm. It serves to remind us of 2 Chronicles 7:14:
“If My people, who are called by My Name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Pause and read this carefully. Hear the message afresh. This promise is rich in meaning and I will unpack it on another occasion. But last Sunday, the organ played a prelude during the communion of a music popular in the Church in the mid-70’s which was written for this verse. I actually woke up this morning with this tune in my head.
“If My people…” This is what our Father is saying.