Written by Tom van Baardewijk
On Friday the 19th of January we were part of an international prayer for peace organized by our friends from Via Pacis. Imagine it. The church in the center of Arco. Full of people from all different backgrounds, denominations and nationalities. A choir singing beautiful songs that were echoing in a building constructed as a place of worship more than 400 years ago. Built on the foundations of a church that was first mentioned in the year 1144AD.
On that exact place we got to witness church leaders, the bishop of Trento, our local Priest, some YWAM'ers, all praying for peace and for unity in the body of Christ. There were some Bible-readings in different languages (also by Reinier, our baseleader) up front. Many people prayed, spontaneous prayers and liturgical prayers. There were also prayers in Italian (including one by Elisabetta), an English prayer (by Tom) and a prayer in German. The chief commander of our fire-brigade was visibly moved as he prayed for his colleagues in Ukraine, in our local dialect. We even had a prayer in Urdu by our Pakistani friend who is also a pastor.
One of the highlights of this evening was seeing the bishop of Trento (the place where the council of Trent took place to announce the counter-reformation) turn to the Lutheran priest saying: "Thank you for pointing us back to Scripture." He continued by stating how we have lost the vision of Jesus and how we need to return to Jesus. That in these turbulent times, Jesus is our hope. Jesus brings us together.
We could not agree more. We have been praying for unity in the body of Christ. Jesus is coming back for 1 bride! And even though we are many different parts, we are all part of one body.
We are aware of some of the preconceived ideas about different church denominations and peoples different experiences. But our invitation to you is: go and meet your brothers and sisters. Talk to them. Experience their love for Jesus. It is okay to disagree on different doctrines and ideas, but don't fail to see that God is on the move. And being in a Catholic country such as Italy, we are full of hope to find out that God is not bound to denominations. There is a big move of the Spirit and believers that are full of passion. We are different, yes. But we are united in Jesus.
We are beyond grateful to see this move of God happening in our own town. And we believe it is just the beginning!