Saturday, August 28, 2010
Big or Small Wave?
Pastor Ernest went directly to his study after service. Shaking a few hands at the door, he walked right by Terry, his associate, without comment.
What had happened immediately after the teaching was unprecedented, offensive but also haunting. He had just summarized his third session on the fruit of the Spirit and was about to call the assembly to sing "Breathe on Me, Breath of God", when an unfamiliar male voice piped up from the back of the sanctuary. It had the appearance of prophecy, something not too common in this pentecostal assembly over the last several years:
"I must tell you of my disappointment. I see that you have become too comfortable with my Word. You no longer tremble. Chewing upon a crumb of it you think that you possess the whole loaf. You will not wait upon me. You are compelled to keep up the jubilant pace, although you have small cause for rejoicing. You are cool. You do not supplicate for my arrival. You do not hush yourselves to receive my still small voice, as did Elijah, my servant. You turn too quickly to your clocks and to your agendas for the remainder of my sabbath.
I hear much talk of my doing a new thing in this day, of issuing a new song, of setting a new course, and you wish to be of use to me in renewal. Is it that you are tired of the grand old message? Do you not believe that there are startling new applications for faith once delivered to the saints? I am the Lord. I change not. I am looking for earnest self-examination, for repentance, for the teachable heart. I caution you that unless such a spirit of humility is evident, and soon...I will withdraw the light and the warmth and the love. You were bought with a price. My beloved Son. You are not your own."
Ernest had not wanted to hear this word. To receive it. To be forced to evaluate it. Probably just some crack-pot visitor with an axe to grind with the organized church. But the comments about reverence and expectancy and wonder at the Word had often been the subject of his prayers with his wife. In a way the rebuke had been considered by him in earlier days, but things had gotten away from him by virtue of the weight and inertia of the corporate body which he and Brenda had worked so tirelessly to build.
Would the next board meeting be a hotbed of controversy? Or would the message cause scarcely a ripple in the rhythms of the year's program? What was his role as facilitator of the assembly? Who could tell?