Its Friday night, near Clapham, and I’m on a packed tube train. I guess most of the people with me are tired, at the end of a long working week, and I guess I am too, but that isn’t what’s on my mind right now.
I’m travelling to the first vow taking ceremony of the Honourable Order of the Mustard Seed, at least among my group of friends. Zinzendorf originally instituted the OMS several centuries ago, and it lead him to allow a small group of Moravian refugees to settle on his land. Later this same group would start an incredible 100 years of prayer, sending missionaries out all over the world.
The order had a number of rules, but these can be distilled to just three main ones: Love God before all others, be kind to all people, and take the Gospel to the nations. Its really just a restatement of the values of the Gospels, but tonight, this set of rules takes on an extra poignancy.
Several of my friends, challenged by Pete Greig’s new book, ‘The Vision and the Vow’, have decided to make these vows a life long commitment. To a certain extent they have already, when they first gave their life to Christ. But today this vow is being taken to God, out of a desire to enter into a more intentioned discipleship, with the sign of a ring reminding the wearer of the vow that they have entered into.
24-7 is growing up. Still fun, still childlike in faith, but growing up nonetheless.
As I stand in Holy Trinity Clapham Common, William Wilberforce’s old church, there is an incredible sense of connection with what the Holy Spirit has done through the ages. Dare we hope to be a part of that tradition? I find myself struggling with my own feelings in this moment. Although several of my friends have chosen this night to take the vow, I find myself unready to move into it just yet. My time will come, but I need to spend more time with Jesus in prayer before I enter into a novitiate period of taking these vows, along with one to follow the six Boiler Room values. Prayer, Creativity, Mission, Justice, Community and Pilgrimage. These things too will be a part of my journey into the vision and the vow.
The ceremony has finished. We pray with friends who have tonight taken a solemn vow before God. The air is electric. Something has changed. God has just opened a new chapter in people’s lives, in 24-7 as a movement, and in His purposes on the earth. Who knows what will come of this?