This past Sunday our church gathered in solemn assembly. There was no doubt that the Holy Spirit was working in the lives of His people. We got to experience and witness firsthand confession, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. What happened was a beautiful demonstration of how God desires us to live in relationship with Him with each other.
For many this past Sunday could be described as a “spiritual high”. This is great, but it leads to the question, “Where do we go from here?”. I have reflected on this question and I would like to share with you three important truths about the significance of the Solemn Assembly in the life of our church.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one anotherJohn 13:34-35 (ESV)
Confession, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation must be a regular part of our spiritual lives.
In the Old Testament we continually see the nation of Israel being called to repentance as they exhibit an all too common practice among God’s people, spiritual apathy. They would repent of their disobedience only to repeat the cycle of apathy and rebellion. Think about it: As beneficial and powerful as it was to gather in Solemn Assembly, it would have been even better if there was no need to do so. What if we had been faithfully walking in obedience to God? An obedience rooted in a deep and abiding love for God. The Solemn Assembly was a great thing. But, as God’s people, confession, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation should be regular practices in our everyday life. Part of living this way also involves being vulnerable about our struggles with our church family so that we can pray for, encourage, and hold each other accountable.
This is just the beginning.
After an event like the Solemn Assembly it can be easy to think, “Wow, that was great. Everything is going to be okay now.” But the problem is thinking like that prevents lasting transformation from happening. The reality is there is still more that needs to be repented of, more forgiveness to be granted, and more relationships that need to be reconciled. What happened at the Solemn Assembly is really just the beginning to what I pray will be a revolutionary transformation in our church. A culture does not change overnight. Trust is not rebuilt in a day. A reputation can take many years to repair. It has become clear that many in our community have a negative view of our church. This is largely due to the many who have left CBCC in the past that were deeply hurt by our church. If you know of people who have been hurt by our church in the past, I would ask you to go to them and tell them how sorry you and our church are for what they experienced and of our commitment to change. Let’s work together to repair our church’s reputation, rebuild trust within our church, and transform our culture.
Be encouraged by what God is doing.
What happened in our church on Sunday needs to be celebrated. When something good happens, I tend to go right on to work on the next problem without stopping to thank and praise God for what He has done. This is unhealthy because as long as we are on this earth there is always going to be problems in our lives and in the church. We are always going to need to fight for unity and defeat divisions in our church. There are always going to be hard things that will take up our time and energy. This is why we must make sure that we celebrate and rejoice when we witness spiritual growth and transformation both in our lives and the life of our church. Praising God and celebrating keeps us from getting overwhelmed, discouraged and burnt out. Take time to reflect on what God is doing in your life and in our church. Be encouraged! That will help motivate you as you live to bring glory to God in a spiritually dark world.
I am encouraged by what God is doing at CBCC. We have been through some difficult and dark days as a church but our God has demonstrated His goodness to us. I do not know what God is going to do. But I do know that based on what He reveals about Himself in His Word, it is going to be something far greater than we could even imagine. Let’s continue to strive to live in a right relationship with Him and with each other. May our lives demonstrate to those around us the deep love of our God and the joy that comes from having a personal relationship with Him.
– Sam McKeen