Thursday Morning Plenary Session at General Conference in Montreal, Palais des congrès de Montréal on May 5, 2016
David Wells, general superintendent of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (left), speaking at the final plenary session on theological vitality. Mission Canada worker Connie Jakab looks on.
Rev. Wells led the communion session by highlighting the parable of the wedding banquet and the need for everyone’s inclusion at the table of the Lord.
In Matthew 22 we have the parable of the wedding banquet. The invitation goes out to come and dine. Jesus describes how many rebel, even attack the messengers. Jesus would allude to His own death as part of the opposition. But the Heavenly Father is committed to having everyone at the Table. Anybody can come. The good, the bad … “Just have the people come who I call.” So is it any wonder when Jesus wanted to make clear His deepest feelings and thoughts about His people, when he wanted to share with His followers about His death and resurrection, He prepares a table for them?
And there at that table, He communicates the deep sense of intimacy that He has with them. These are not His servants … these are His friends. He washes their feet. And He lets them know that He will be giving of His body, broken for them. That He will be shedding His own blood for them, so that there will be a table for the family to come to. And the “whoevers” can come. To this day, the King sends out His invitation and He wants us to know that the “whoevers” can come. He calls them from every tongue, tribe, nation, every age, no matter what their backgrounds, rich or poor, because none of these things are the real issue. The question is, will you come to the Table that Jesus has prepared for you? You and I in this Pentecostal family have been called to this Table.
Patti, I’d like you to come to the table. Patti Victor is from Sto:lo Nation, British Columbia. Our First Nations need to be at the table. Even on this property where we stand, there are First Nations here … were the 10 native nations of Quebec. We so desperately want them at our table. We honour all of our First Nations people who are at our table today and who work among us … equally at the table. And then others gathered to this land. The French came. I’m so glad you are at this table. You’re my brother. We share the same Spirit. We’re at the table of the Lord together. And we believe God for a great new work of His Spirit among The Francophonie.
So we trust that even in this conference, through our prayer and our unity, that God is breaking through in the heavenly realms. And that in our unity He’s commanding blessing. And among the Francophonie throughout La Belle Province. But we are not the only nations who have gathered. Some, like my mother’s family, got into boats in Europe. They landed over in Halifax, they got on a train, and ended up in Wayne, Alberta. And they came and forged a life. My grandparents carved out a place to live. They worked hard, they formed a community, they worshipped God, and now some of us represent the generations that followed. But we need this Table. Because land and wealth are not enough. We need what Jesus Christ has done. And others continue to come from the many nations.
"So we trust that even in this conference, through our prayer and our unity, that God is breaking through in the heavenly realms. And that in our unity He’s commanding blessing."
So my brother Abel, would you come. We have people joining us from Central and South America, the Islands, Africa … we want you to know that you are equal members at this table. We thank God for you. We value your zeal for the presence of God. We embrace you … and we embrace your zeal for God. You’re at the table. I want to invite Connie Jakab to the table. We need all generations at the table ... I wish you could come with me around the country and see [the work that others are doing]. People who are not blind to the reality that many young people they meet have never cracked open a Bible.
I want us to understand that even the church in the first century had tensions at the table. They wrestled with being the people of God. That’s why we have to keep coming back to the Table. We have to keep coming back to what Jesus has done for us. Because at this Table I am called to see each of my brothers and sisters through what Jesus has done … not through my own background and preferences. So diversity does not have to equal division. Paul and the other writers would constantly bring them back to the Table. The Jew/Gentile divisions would constantly threaten to tear the church apart. Paul would remind them that even though they looked at each other with derision and disrespect, Jesus had put Himself right between the two of them. And He took upon Himself all the animosity and the sin of all time. And through His own blood, He brought peace … peace to the Jew, peace to the Gentile. We are just one loaf. He is the life for us all. So yes, this family has diversity. We are under a broad tent. But it makes sense when you come to the Table. Because He’s bringing us from every tongue and tribe. He’s bringing us from every age level, from every walk of life. And the thing that unites us is what He has done. So you and I know the Corinthians passages where the instructions for the table are given.
So never forget, we are one in Christ. So we need to endeavour to keep the unity and the bond of peace. This is worth fighting for. To lay ourselves down on behalf of the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and to lay our lives down for one another. In honour, we prefer one another in love. How can we lay ourselves down for our First Nations people? How can we lay ourselves down for an entire generation that does not even know the truth about Jesus? How can we lay ourselves down for a new generation coming from other countries, who don’t know about Jesus? That’s what this conference is all about—what this family is all about. Because we want the “whoevers” to get to the Table. To find out that He is the bread of life. He is the one who washes away all sin and condemnation.
So our friends from the Gen Ex and the former executive officers are going to come to the table. The worship team is going to come.
From left to right - Connie Jakab, Mission Canada worker based in Calgary, Alberta, Patti Victor, founder of Chilliwack Native Pentecostal Church in Chilliwack, BC, Abel Casillas of The Faithful Remnant Spanish Pentecostal Church in Toronto, Gérald Emery, senior pastor at Église Nouvelle Alliance in Gatineau, Quebec, and David Wells, general superintendent of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.
Photos by Leslie Ghag. © 2016 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.