For the Bride: Stop Now!

If you have seen the movie “Forest Gump,” you will remember the scene where Forest begins to run.  He runs…runs…runs…and runs some more.  Along the way, he gathers other folks who begin to run with him.

And then…one day…suddenly, and without warning…he stops.  Stops cold.  And with no explanation, he turns around and reverses his journey.  In some sense, he had to run, but in an equal way, he had to stop–to stop now.  Abrupt, but a necessary clean break.  For to keep running would only take him farther and farther away from home.

Forest’s experience mirrors those of historic reformers–men and women who ran in a particular direction for a long time.  And then…the Spirit said, “Stop!  Stop now!”  We are here because of their willingness and courage to do so.  We are here because they listened to the Spirit.

I believe (as others do) that we are in another period like this–in a time when God is calling the Church to another great emergence, but one that begins with God saying, “Stop!  Stop now!” I believe that a fresh Wind of the Spirit is blowing, and God is challenging us to raise our sails and move in the power that the Spirit provides and with the guidance the Spirit gives.

But before we can hear God’s “Go!” we must first hear God’s “Stop!”  It comes to us in one word: repent.  The word (metanoia) fundamentally means to change.  It includes the confession of sin, but it is broader than that.  Essentially, God’s call to repent comes to us in this question, “Are you willing to look at life in a new way?”  It is the question God is asking us, individually and collectively, right now.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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