Am working right now on a talk for tomorrow at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto on “Celebrating our roots; Anticipating the harvest”—a 400th anniversary celebration of Baptist origins with John Smyth and Thomas Helwys and the like. It is historic in some ways since it will bring together Baptists from the FEBC and BCOQ to celebrate together our forebears and God’s goodness over the years.
In some ways gathering to recall the beginnings of those Christians called Baptists is a little like one of those rock concerts for boomers, who come together to hear a sixties band belt out some of their favourite rock n’ roll hits from that era. It would be easy to think that those aging rockers are merely indulging in nostalgia. Sure, there is some of that. But to a real extent their roots lie back in the sixties. That was the era that defined their social, sexual, and spiritual views and reliving the vibrant music of that era that stirred their souls so deeply then helps them reaffirm their identity now. In a somewhat similar way, what we are doing when we celebrate our roots is not mere antiquarianism: oh, wouldn’t it have been lovely to live in that era! No, we gather together to re-affirm who we are by recalling where we have come from.