They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
–Isaiah 35: 10 (New International Version)
In October 2019, Rick Lowery emailed the leaders of the general ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pitching the idea of writing a devotional to be used across the denomination. “Each of our general ministries can be engaged in prayer for the whole church as we prepare to take the next step beyond the 2020 Vision that has structured our life together for quite some time now,” Lowery wrote of the program that he guided the denomination for two decades. That idea evolved into a book that would shepherd Disciples into the 2021 General Assembly and beyond.
My, how things can change in a year. Disciples now approach a year in which that General Assembly is another COVID cancellation and many congregations are unsure when they will gather in person again.
In that void, Wellsprings of Hope: Prayers for a Prophetic New Vision for Disciples can be a central connection point for Disciples across the country as we envision how our thousands of congregations can be together even when we are apart.
Wellsprings of Hope gathers 52 weekly reflections on Isaiah 35, the hallowed passage about finding new life, new faith, and new prophetic vision in challenging times and places – an appropriate vision for this time in our lives.
Twenty general ministries and programs of the church contributed to the book, and that brings a diversity in mission, language, audiences, theology, and world views inspired by a single passage of less than 300 words.
As I read the drafts, one entry stood out: Lori Tapia, the national Hispanic pastor for Disciples, wrote an entry in Spanish. That out-of-language experience reminded me of a gathering of the North American Pacific/Asian Disciples (NAPAD), where English one among many languages. It is a holy experience to hear the same thoughts, the same hopes, in a dozen languages. It truly is a Pentecost experience.
Lowery connects that Pentecostal experience to what he hopes congregations will experience as they work through the devotional in 2021. “For Disciples congregations of every kind to focus on the same scripture, the same prayer, the same hopes and dreams for what Disciples can be — it’s a powerful idea."
Praying for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and considering the next steps are an intangible way to support the denomination. Wellsprings of Hope offers a far more tangible way to support the church: Proceeds from the book support Disciples Mission Fund, the shared financial pool for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.) Participating general ministries include:
May Wellsprings of Hope provide connection across geography and theology for 2021 and beyond.
President and Publisher