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History – A Personal Perspective.

20/10/2011

Just a couple of years ago I concluded my ministry as the pastor of a busy inner-city church in East Belfast. After a wee break I settled into pastoral life in a small country church in rural County Down. What a difference! A much smaller congregation, a more relaxed lifestyle, less busy-ness! The bricks and mortar and greyness of the city replaced by a green country landscape. Conversation about the merits and demerits of Linfield and Glentoran – replaced with talk about how best to get the hay harvested from the wee paddock at the side of the church!

Some Sabbath mornings, I like to walk around the old church building before the morning service starts. It’s about a mile away from the nearest village, and the peace and quiet of the countryside is like balm to the soul, especially in these lovely autumn months. It helps to settle the heart and soul before the act of worship. But it’s not just the quietness of the countryside that helps to prepare the soul for worship. It’s the sense of history and continuity that that surrounds an old country church! The building has a little churchyard, where people have laid to rest their loved ones for nearly two hundred years. The ambience of the interior of the old meeting-house, with its raised pulpit and its old wooden box-pews, all speak of a stability, a continuity of Reformed Christian worship in successive generations, that continues until this day, and will continue into eternity.

It all reminds me that the God of the Bible is the God of history. Someone once remarked that history is in fact His Story. He planned it, He foreordained it and it’s in his control. And He intervened into that history, when He sent His Son Jesus into this world to suffer and die on the Cross for us – so that we could have our sins forgiven and know his love and mercy for us on a personal scale. And when we’re in God’s keeping, we’re safe there, knowing that God is working out His plan and His purpose. The psalmist summed this up in Psalm 103:17 when he reminds us that the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him. The God of history is the God who loves us as individuals.

So this Lord’s Day, I will go to God’s House, as generations of believers have done before me and I will raise my voice to Him in thanksgiving and praise, – the everlasting God whose love and mercy reaches down to me.

From → Editorial

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