1990 ICS Niagara Conference
Perspective Report by Reinder J. Klein
Events for the whole family tend to be a little chaotic; everyone is encouraged to get into the act, and sometimes some do, and sometimes all do. That means children may cry at functions where otherwise no infant would have been, and teenagers may gyrate to raucous sounds where otherwise serene silence would have been music to adult ears.
It also means that not everyone feels compelled to attend all activities, that the pace of life eases up a little, that the atmosphere is pleasantly relaxed. Family conferences are easy-going affairs, especially for those who dwell in tents, who enjoy the competing charms of campfires and flies, of hibachi meals and sand, of downy-soft sleeping bags and stubbly beards. There’s a touch of romance in family conferences that stimulates play and reflection of weighty issues, of matters of the heart.
This year’s Niagara Conference had all that, and then some. Imagine, if you will, more than a thousand worshipers of all ages gathered in joyful celebration, enthusiastically singing their lungs out in praise, or reverently listening to the proclamation of God’s good news for modern man and for the good creation.
Imagine too the addresses and work-shops, and the subsequent discussions: the affirmations, the differing opinions, the new and at times troubling insights. Think of the games: exuberance, the shrieks, the running, the laughter. And consider the personal relationships: the tenderness, the tentative touch, the deepening affections, the heart-bursting fullness of budding friendships, of fellowship in Christ.
Imagine, finally, a creation without all this: a world, a cosmos, arid and bleak, one without beauty, or harmony, or joy, or life. It is a thought too horrible to contemplate. Small wonder then that the ailing creation waits eagerly for the full impact of Christ’s redemptive work to be revealed by his sons and daughters — by us.