From the Pastors' Desks

Lost

So, I feel a little lost. How do you shepherd when you can’t be with your sheep? I remember feeling something like this a long time ago – 1974 to be exact. After our dairy herd was found to be contaminated with PBB the government loaded the entire herd all up on trucks and hauled them away. I remember walking into the barn after school, when I would normally be doing chores – and there was nothing there. Just a barn full of emptiness where my life, and friends, used to be. 930 52nd St has a lot of that same feel, a building missing the life that made it beautiful.

It’s only been two weeks, but my soul is already deeply thirsty for corporate, public worship. Maybe this is how the Sons of Korah felt when they penned Psalm 42.

Psalm 42:1–2,4 (ESV)
1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.


I’m very thankful for Live Stream. It allows us to worship “together” in some sense. But it doesn’t come close to the full wonder of a normal Sunday when we gather as a body, a family, in the very presence of our God and Savior.

I believe that one God-intended purpose of our temporary separateness is a heightened appreciation for the incredible blessing of public worship! Last week I recommended to you “10 Gifts I Pray God Gives the Church Through the Coronavirus”. Number 9 expresses my thoughts exactly.
  • A Pronounced Love for the Gathered Church: There is nothing we can do through technological skills that can equal the gathered church in body, voice, and presence. We can deliver sermons and music over the internet, but it will not be the same thing. We shouldn’t pretend that it is. I think it is wise and good to provide such things for our church family, however, I hope that we are not too good at it. The greatest benefit of not meeting corporately is that it should awaken in us a hunger to be in that assembly. As David traveled through the wilderness and cried out to God his desire to worship God, I pray we would long for our church assemblies until they come. That even in the longing, that God would lovingly confront his church with the ways we’ve taken it for granted and been indifferent to it. May God cause something mighty and special to happen when the church, across the entire world, returns to corporate worship. May expectations be at an all-time high, and the fervor to preach God’s world shape pulpits, and worship teams (congregations - my edit) break out in what our forefathers called “jubilee,” and may it cause a revival, not in one place but globally!
Amen!

Come to think of it, this distance and waiting and longing is part and parcel of our pilgrimage here on earth. The “tabernacle” we long for is Jesus Himself, in all His beauty and glory. As precious as public worship is with our Harvest family, it is still ‘through a glass dimly’. But one day it will be face-to-face. May our longing now be saturated with hope for the glorious “then”!

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:5)

— Pastor Dale

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