We don’t want to stop saying thank you for so many of you who have literally been the expression of God’s love and grace to us. Incredible meals… generous gifts… numerous cards… innumerable Facebook and email posts of encouraging thoughts and prayers. We are simply overwhelmed in trying to say thank you. We love you.
After World War II ended, some Christian groups participated in rebuilding projects at German churches. At one church a large statue of Jesus which stood in front of the old sanctuary had had the hands blown off. It was impossible to replace them. So the group made a plaque to place in front of the statue. It said, “You are the hands of Jesus.”
And to us, you are. “We always give thanks for you.”
Sunday, June 4, is Pentecost Sunday. That doesn’t mean much to most evangelical, Protestant types, according to a journal article I read recently. We don’t really acknowledge the special dates on the church yearly calendar (well, except for the fun ones… Easter and Christmas with an occasional mention of Advent.)
The church calendar is built around several, significant observations and celebrations and observances, much as you will find reading the Old Testament (Feast of Passover, Day of Atonement, Feast of Booths, etc.) They literally controlled time and worship for entire communities of earlier Christians.
Lent is a 40-day commemoration of the 40-year, wilderness experience. It is followed by a 50 day “Hallelujah Party” following Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Then, at the end of the 50 days, Pentecost Sunday arrives. It is the birthday of the church. It is the day the Spirit of God fell on 120 praying men and women in an upper room in Jerusalem, tarrying for power from on high as Jesus had commanded. (Acts 2)
Pentecost became a day of salvation, of fulfillment of prophecy, of the powerless disciples being clothed with power from on high as a “mighty, rushing wind” came and literally took over their lives. The Holy Spirit had arrived… the Presence of Jesus in His followers. The Promise had been fulfilled!
But this year, Pentecost Sunday has taken on special significance for me. It is 50 days from Pam’s surgery. Her surgery was literally 7 hours after Easter had ended. We have wandered in the wilderness of surgical recovery and rehabilitation and emotional discouragement and disappointments and physical exhaustion and weeping… waiting, as did the disciples, powerless but prayerful; empty but expectant.
I believe God is going to do something on Pentecost Sunday to endue with power and fresh anointing, restoration of strength to Pam’s leg and dexterity to her hand and arm. I believe that this God whose name is Yahweh (Jehovah) Rapha is indeed the “Lord who heals us.” That this God who parted the waters for Israel will do the impossible and bring healing to a disease that doctors have said can’t be cured.
On Pentecost Sunday, I am praying He will be that for Pam. I am not demanding. God is Sovereign and He is under no obligation to answer any demands. “God is God in Heaven and does whatever He will.” I am not ordering. Nor do I believe myself to be presumptuous or naive.
I simply believe He is a good, good Father who is going to show Himself in power. So I ask: Will you pray for Pam? Would you pray on Pentecost Sunday in a special way for her? Will you pray that God will show Himself in power for His Own glory? Would you pray for the power and Holy Spirit unleashed at Pentecost to visit her?
And may God hear the pleas of His people, rend the heavens and come down!
I waited patiently for the Lord and He turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to my God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:1-3
Sunday we returned to worship together for the first time since Pam’s surgery. Allison was in town with us. We wept for joy and sang praises with the people of God. We were generously fed the Word of Life and were lovingly embraced by the family of God.
How do Christ-followers live without the encouragement of worship with the body of Christ, the “communion of the saints?”
Vacation season is beginning. I realize people do travel or have jobs that prevent their regular attendance at worship. Certainly illness or disability hinder some.
But if we are home and able to walk, limp or roll to church… how do we willingly choose something else as worshipers gather in God’s house? How do we refuse to gather with others who are lifting their hearts in praise to the King of Glory?
We have so missed the gathering of believers in worship. Though we have faithfully huddled each week around our video screen and enjoyed the music and heard the skillful and anointed preaching of God’s Word through the blessing of Livestream, we have been acutely aware that our seats among the worshiping body in God’s house were vacant.
And Sunday it was good to be home.
“I was glad when they said unto me ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.”