A suggestion was made that perhaps a very large tent could be erected on campus so that the assembly could walk from its plenary sessions and residence rooms to worship daily. Initially this idea was met with some resistance as a tent seemed a rather humble location for such an important occasion. However, on second thought, the memory of Israel traveling through the wilderness with a tent/tabernacle as its worship home reminded the church of the portability of worship. It also helped the assembly experience the journey out of Christendom and into a new time of wilderness wandering that is an identifying feature of the church in our time.
|Celebrating the Lima Liturgy at the 6th Assembly|
In 1983 I was entering my fourth year as a pastor and was serving a congregation that was a forty-five minute drive from UBC. My memories the Assembly are rich. I recall Coretta Scott King's moving address as she was getting ready to mark the 20th anniversary of Martin's "I have a dream" speech/sermon in Washington. There was the dramatic arrival of Desmond Tutu from South Africa after the South African government had initially denied him a visa to travel. There was the great procession of religious dignitaries at the opening day celebration in the Pacific Coliseum in their regalia ... and then the preacher stepping forward into the midst of the huge crowd - it was Jean Vanier plainly dressed in a plaid shirt, speaking so powerfully, simply, beautifully ... a Catholic lay person who was truly our priest. And there was the worship in the tent. It was powerful, moving, rich. Praying the Lord's Prayer aloud and hearing so many languages all at once - a pentecostal experience. And singing ... oh, the singing. The 6th Assembly is mostly remembered, I think, for the music. It was a break-through moment when we heard the song of the church beyond western European rhythms and melodies and languages. The music was African, Asian, Latin American, Eastern European and more. On Sunday here at UHill we will remember the Assembly especially through the music we sing. The 6th Assembly may have departed in 1983 but it left the music behind. And we are grateful!