For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. —Ecclesiastes 3:1
I want to share a story about the beauty of this unique community of missionaries, church leaders, and research scholars from around the world who, since 1922, have gathered annually for sustained spiritual, physical, and intellectual renewal. Those of you who have firsthand experience of the OMSC community surely could contribute your own inspiring stories, and we invite you to do so (contact us).
On Monday, November 7, the day before our national election, the residents prepared a delicious lunch for the OMSC staff. They carefully planned this event because they wanted to express their sincere appreciation for our staff and pray with and for us before the imminent election. Before the meal, we sang “America the Beautiful” together with our sisters and brothers from Africa, East Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and India. Kola Kehinde, a Nigerian serving with his wife, Funmi, in the UK, led us in a prayer that was probing, heartfelt, and eloquent. The prayer began with a paraphrase of Psalm 47:8—“God who is king over all nations; God who sits on your holy throne.” After the final votes were counted and Americans responded with delight, depression, or indifference, I called to mind our Nigerian brother’s
prayer and found comfort and challenge in his words. As Christians, we know the God of Israel—“the king of all nations”—through Jesus Christ, a most unexpected and countercultural king who went from town to town preaching, teaching, healing, and loving, then through a cross and empty tomb, opened a new way to the kingdom of forgiveness, love, and grace.
In uncertain times like this, I am reminded of the words of Kagawa Toyohiko (1888–1960), the great Japanese evangelist and social reformer, who reflected back on his own introduction to Jesus through his friendship with the Logans and the Meyers, U.S. Presbyterian families serving in Tokushima on the island of Shikoku. Kagawa wrote, “I read in a book that a man called Christ went about doing good. It is very disconcerting to me that I am so easily satisfied with just going about.”
As OMSC prepares for its second century (starting in 2022), we want to partner with you and your congregation for the sake of God’s ongoing mission in the world today. We believe that
mission, according to the pattern of the ministry of Jesus, is the engine that drives and renews Christian faith and theological reflection, sustaining the church in humility and hope. There is
much preaching, teaching, healing, and loving yet to be done, so let us continue to engage in mission together with the worldwide Christian movement.
We hope you enjoy these stories from OMSC and invite you to explore our new web site. We look forward to hearing from you and pray God’s richest blessings on you and yours during Advent and Christmas.
—Thomas John Hastings, Executive Director