GAFCON DAY 2
We began today with with a period of confession and repentance. Such has quickly become a theme of GAFCON 23. We recognize that we cannot call others to turn to Jesus if we ourselves are not placing ourselves willingly and constantly before the judgment of God.
Communal confession each Sunday is one of the primary things that drew me to Anglicanism. Until I encountered our great tradition, confessing sins was something you did quietly to yourself as the church lights went down. You took your juice-and-wafer-combo-kit, bowed your head, looked at your feet, listened to the quiet music, and tried to quickly list all of your sins from the past week. You heard no one else. You saw no one else. Those few minutes each Sunday were some of the loneliest in my Christian life.
This couldn't be more different in our tradition. At Church of the Redeemer, at least, the lights stay up. No music plays. No one tries to hide. Instead, we confess boldly together that we have sinned, knowing with certainty that when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and purify us from all righteousness. It is always a beautiful moment.
Now picture that moment... and then multiply it 100 times over. Add 1300 others from all over the world confessing with you. Mix English in a variety of accents with Swahili, Kinyarwanda, French, Portuguese, and so many other languages - the souls of the saints bared to the Lord acknowledging sin and crying out for forgiveness.
This is the mark of GAFCON and I pray that it will be the mark of our province, our diocese, and our churches.
Following this time of confession, Rt. Rev. James Wong, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean preached on Colossians 1:28-2:23. He encouraged us to remain established in the faith and look to Jesus as the example for why we live, how to live, and strength to resist the temptations of the world.
Following Archbishop Wong, evangelist Rev. Rico Tice reminded us of the power of the Word of God to work in the lives of people who encounter it. The work of conversion is not ours. It is God who draws people to himself. Our job is to partner with God, simply bringing the gospel to others, so that God might work in their lives. To end his presentation, Rev. Rico left us with these wonderfully blunt words:
God's word will work. Period.