Today I spent a couple of hours in the prayer room in the city centre (http://www.247prayeraberdeen.org/).
It was great. Just to take a some time out and focus entirely on God – something that has been missing in my life recently.
The first station is the Scriptorium, where people are encouraged to copy out a passage of scripture so that by the end of the two weeks there will be copies of Genesis, Isaiah and the Psalms fully handwritten by the people of Aberdeen.
I love this idea! I sat down with Isaiah and started at the middle of chapter 62 where the previous person had left off. This is a brilliant way of making yourself really read what the Scripture says. As you write you can’t just brush over parts or rush through bits, each and every word must run through your mind and you are forced to consider the implications of each sentence.
A couple of verses in particular stood out for me, Isaiah 62:10-12 (The Message):
Walk out of the gates. Get going!
Get the road ready for the people.
Build the highway. Get at it!
Clear the debris, hoist high a flag, a signal to all peoples!
Yes! God has broadcast to all the world:
“Tell daughter Zion, ‘Look! Your Savior comes,
Ready to do what he said he’d do,
prepared to complete what he promised.'”
Zion will be called new names: Holy People, God-Redeemed,
I really felt the need to pause over these verses and felt that God was speaking to me about the Church of Scotland and the events of the past week.
My initial reaction to the outcome of Saturday’s debate was shock, which became anger and then pain. For more than a moment I considered walking away from the CoS when it came to finding a new church in September. It seemed that God had abandoned us; and we – the CoS – had certainly abandoned him. I couldn’t understand why God would let such things happen and was ready to jump on the Fellowhip of Confessing Churches/ Free Church move band wagon.
But in these verses God has given me hope.
Jesus told Peter that he would build the Church “upon this rock I will build my church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matt 16:18). God keeps His promises, always. And, even though it might seem that the complete opposite is happening, God will not let his church be conquered. He will return, He will bring justice, He will redeem the church that now seems so forgotten. It is not forsaken.
And only He can rescue it: not us, never us. Ephesians 16:12 says: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” We can’t win that battle and we certainly won’t have victory in the war. Our task is to stand firm. As we studied Revelation over the past few months this came up time and again: God’s people didn’t go on the attack but were called to be faithful and maintain integrity:
- Revelation 3:8 You have little strength yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.
- Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children – all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.
- Revelation 13:10 God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful.
We are told to prepare the road and raise the flag – to show the way to Jesus, and make sure His name is declared and God’s Word lifted high within this land.
So, in three verses and twenty minutes, God said all that!
What’s He said to you in the past few days?