Dear Church Family,
Greetings in the Name of the One to Whom all things belong, and before Whom every knee shall bow.
There are no further updates, relating to the lockdown or its impact on church ministries, for the present. As with churches all over the world, we await the Lord’s pleasure. Yet while we wait, we continue to worship.
This Thursday is Ascension Day. It is that day when the church has historically remembered and celebrated the ascension of Jesus Christ to Heaven; His triumphant coronation as He took once again the Throne. Strangely, it is also one of those days now diminished in the minds of much of the church of the 21st century. Once hailed, and until 1993 commemorated as a public holiday, it is now relegated and largely forgotten. Even our own combined Ascension Day services perhaps reflect something of this loss. Despite assembling as a number of churches, we do not even fill the room to capacity. True, there is no explicit Biblical command to hold such a service – just as none exist for Christmas or Easter; and it is of infinitely greater importance to live in the light of the truth than to create or attend a liturgy around it. True also, that some will not be able to join such combined ventures, owing to health or travel limitations; or other inescapable responsibilities arising out of the command to love neighbour. However, with a sober honesty, it would probably be fair to say the disparity in church numbers exists because for many Ascension Day is just….Thursday.
This Thursday…no combined service is held out to us. There is no buffet of tasty snacks to entice afterwards. There will be no great assembly of voices, to enthral or inspire. There will just be…an opportunity. An opportunity to come before the King of Glory, in the quietness of your home, and worship in wonder and love. We encourage you to participate in the service, which will available on the website. The message will centre on Psalm 24, and will delivered with children in mind; it will be shorter and simpler than normal, to account for the evening routine. And it would be for their good, to establish from a young age a high view of Ascension Day; to create excitement for it, as you would for other days. Will you join us? Will you delay sleep just a little, if you are prone to early nights? Will you leave off Netflix, or the novel, and pause for an hour to nourish your soul and worship the King? Could the studies be laid aside? Could the kitchen wait? Could the children go to bed that tiny bit later? Shall we draw near the throne together?
We invite you to bow. We invite you to do it literally, in your home, before your King. Bow as married couples. Bow as families. Bend your heads and speak to your God with reverence and awe; for He is a consuming fire. Be not too proud. Think of if not as an antiquated custom – unsuitable for the modern man. Kneel. Prostrate yourself. Lie down upon your face; if not with others, then alone. Lose your dignity, if that’s what it takes. Cast off your reserve, if westernized culture thinks it strange and unnecessary. Why would you not bow before Him now, when Scripture tells you that you will bow before Him one day? You live in the presence of the Ascended Sovereign, who rules over the Heavens and the Earth. He is there, even now, as you read this; as you go about your affairs in the home. And He bids you – the redeemed creature – to come and delight yourself in Him.
Yes, Thursday is Ascension Day. It is day worth remembering. It is a day, like any other – to worship. But unlike any other – because across the whole face of the globe, citizens of the Kingdom of God are orientating their hearts, thoughts and words upon a single great event in the history of redemption. Millions of voices will be raised; millions of heads will be bowed; millions confessing at one and the same time that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Will your join that great throng? Or will your let the moment pass you by?
May the Lord Himself be with you, this Thursday.
In all Christian love and affection,
Martin, Andrew, Shane and Winton