God was among us Sunday. Yes, yes, I know that God is always present. I've taught the omnipresence of God on more than one occasion. And yet, there are times and ways that God is "more present" than in others. Sunday was one of those times.
I don't know when I first realized it. Perhaps it was as Bob began to ask different people to lead out in singing verses of "There is a Fountain". Something about the simple simplicity of different ones of you lifting up your voices and crying out to God with all your heart caused me to see God in his gracious mercy displayed in the cross of Christ that much more clearly. It was a very special moment.
Afterwards, when it came time for the sermon, it's hard for me to comment specifically on how the message was received by others -- after all I was the one doing the preaching. And yet, I became aware again of a special "help" from the Holy Spirit. I don't know what else to call it and I'm not trying to be mystical -- and I certainly would not claim any kind of special "annointing" or revelation. But God helped. I was aware of being "born along" with an added clarity and passion that was due to more than my own preparation or "feelings." (I'm doing a really terrible job of explaining this, I know, but the point is, God was at work in a very clear and identifiable way, even if it is not an easily definable way!) [Message can be found here]
Finally, we came to Sunday Evening. The "crowd" was much smaller of course (something I've never really understood), and yet the Spirit of God chose to come among us with a special grace once again. Aaron led worship. And as we began, he asked the congregation if any would be willing to share a verse or two that had special meaning to them. Once again I was stunned into gratitude as different members of our church lifted their voices one after the other after the other in a grace-filled chorus of Christ-exalting joy for mercy shown at the cross! I sat in my pew saying over and over again, "Thank you Lord, for a people who get it! Who see that the purpose of Scripture is not to give us good feelings or a sweet devotional thought, but to confront us with life anchoring truth in Christ!" The verses that were read were not the usual "promise box" verses ripped out of context to make it sound like "all is well with the world." They were passages that pointed to the triumph of grace and mercy over sin, to the steadfastness of Christ's love for His elect, and for the assurance that belongs to the sons of God who, thought they suffer in this world, have an inheritance that can never perish spoil or fade in Him! In Him! There was the unifying theme! That all we need and all we have is found in Christ by faith!
Well, I've rambled enough. All this just to say, it was a glorious Sunday and I was glad to be with the people of God in the presence of such grace!