History of the Sword of the Spirit

In 1969, when I was in college in Ann Arbor, Michigan, there were about 30 of us who prayed together regularly.  At that time we were not yet  a community, but only a group of Christians with ties not very strong, mainly university students, who had been baptized in the Holy Spirit and we were trying to take our faith seriously.  We met every Monday night in a large room of a rented house to pray and seek the Lord.

During a meeting in early summer 1969, the Lord began to talk about repentance, about removing the obstacles to the  Lord's work  we had created because of the sins  we had not recognized and from which we had not repented.  In a prophecy after another during this meeting, we heard about the areas that needed change and the Holy Spirit was opening the eyes of many of us for us to see what he was seeing.  For the most part they were not great sins, but things that occupied a place in our lives that God Himself wanted to occupy: our career paths, our very dear possessions, our inordinate interest in food and things like that.  This "prophetic examination of conscience" lasted several weeks and many of us had  a sense of expectation: for  what was  God  preparing us?  It seemed that he was addressing us as a group while he talked to us as individuals.  He seemed to be "doing something with us."

Towards the middle of summer we discovered that our attention was drawn to many passages in Scripture relating to the "alliance".  That was the beginning of a year of discovery, while learning about covenant love   and the  fidelity  between God and his people and between brothers and sisters who belong to the same people.  Thus began the Lord's call to the covenant community ... with a group’s  call to repentance.

By the fall of 1969, the United States was in the throes of the antiwar movement, and in the country prevailed a widespread questioning of the rules of society.  The flowers of marijuana and LSD, doing things at will.  Meanwhile, our small but growing group of students, graduates and hippies in the Michigan University was meeting every week to pray and learn what the Bible told us about the "alliance" and the community.

The idea of community was fashionable in the United States in the late 60's but we began to learn that the  "covenant" community  was somewhat more specific and more demanding: communion with God and all those he had called ,whether or not  we felt  a natural affinity for them.  The terms "loyalty" and "faithful love" appeared repeatedly when we tried to understand the community in the Old and New Testament words describing the personal way in which God  treated the people of his covenant and his expectation of how they should treat Him and treat each other.

The learning within the community  was hard, especially for some of us, who were  radical "antisystem",  confronting the reality of Gods authority.  In fact it was a little uncomfortable for all of us, to confront our own selfishness in  ourrelationships.
Have you done something wrong?  So do not try to cover it up hoping no one mentions it Admit it, take responsibility for it and ask your brothers and sisters to forgive you.  Yourr brother disappointed you,  spoke ill of you, damaged something of yours?  Talk to him about it.

Has he  apologized?  Well, forgive him as God forgave you  Did you make a promise?  Do everything you can to fulfill it, because God is a God that keeps his promises and wants us to be like him.

Despite this daily discipline to implement the word of God, the whole thing filled us with joy.  We learned something one day and that same day  we were trying to live it with enthusiasm and joy, sometimes with pain.

Our joy would send us to the highways and byways of our campus to call all we could to come and share the richness of our life together.  As we grew in number, God continued to speak about the community, about his desire to integrate groups of people-including our group -to be a people whose own lives and relationships reflected the nature of God.  We also learned that God had in mind much more than  this work of his,  in this university town in the Midwest of the United States One of the most impressive facts of being in a  community in those early days in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was the strong conviction that we had been caught in a great undertaking of God.  We noticed evidence everywhere: men and women heard the word of God and their lives were transformed.  God spoke and what he said came true.  And before our own eyes God's work grew with astonishing speed.

Those who attended a tiny prayer meeting in Ann Arbor in December 1967 (there were maybe 15 people) heard a  very special prophecy.

You will reap a harvest that you did not sow.  You will plant, and in the coming years will see the harvest.  The work you have seen start here will be extended ...  I will bring you many more ...  and I will baptize them in my Holy Spirit.  I will raise sons and daughters for my work.  In the midst of you will grow a cross with the light of my  body ...  I am sending  you people from all over  the country to receive a message that they will take back home with them.

In a matter of a few short years, this prophecy was fulfilled, as hundreds of people came every year to visit the community not only from across the country but worldwide.  Less than eight years after this prophecy was given, the community  had to keep a guest house to accomodate the 1,500 people arriving every year to visit the community and see what God was doing there.

As had been predicted, many came to Ann Arbor and captured a vision of the Christian community lived in the power of the Holy Spirit and returned home to implement it themselves.  In those early years seeds were planted that later produced a crop of Christian communities  living in various parts of the world.