—from the pastor’s heart…
A Solemn Assembly: Why? What do I seek?
One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one. * Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”. * The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference does it make?” * The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “It made a difference to that one!”
In mankind’s incessant drifting from pillar to post, it could be asked, “What difference does this solemn assembly, or that revival, or that step of faith or act of obedience make?” It makes a difference for the ones involved. The generations come and go. And some generations turn and are saved!
Billie and I have asked all who call The Sanctuary their church to follow us from the 1st Sunday of September to the 1st Sunday in October, in a serious 30 days of prayer, fasting, and seeking God’s face for our church, community, and nation. The closest pattern in scripture of what we feel the Holy Spirit wants us to be about is the Old Testament call for a solemn assembly.
In broad terms, solemn assemblies are for the purpose of spiritual renewal. They are ‘a means of grace’ with the intent of: 1) turning more fully to God’s grace offered to us in Christ through confession & repentance; 2) laying ourselves bare before the Holy One in prayer; and 3) listening for the Spirit’s “still small voice” through scripture, preaching, and testimony. America’s Great Awakenings were often prompted by prayer for dire social problems caused by rampant alcoholism and frontier lawlessness that the church wanted to address in the power of the Holy Spirit.
These things are what Billie and I seek for you! I am burdened with the sense that these times—our current events, as it were, are not “normal.” I feel if we fail to notice the “supernaturalness” of what’s happening around us, happening in & to us, we will miss the life the Spirit would have us live in the coming weeks and months. My call for us, as an ecclesia, a church body, to fast, pray, and pay the price to be with one another, is not an end in itself. It is only the means whereby we seek after God for His face, His presence, in a deeper, stronger way than has been our normal pattern.
I wish I had a more precise word for you. I do not. My vision, hope, faith is to only know that if we will walk this road—1st Sunday to 1st Sunday—then for those who are a part, it will make a difference. I seek to address the things happening around us and to us in the power of the Holy Spirit. Things happening in our country and county; things happening in our church’s Board Meetings and Worship Services, need to be addressed in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Normal words, normal prayers, normal meetings and normal services will keep our lives normal. But no! There is more! Supernaturalness is happening all over and all around! Let our words and prayers and meetings and services keep pace! Oh, God—these things I seek! —Pastor Gary