Pastoral Letter February 2012

… all the people said ‘Amen!’ and praised the LORD.

– 1 Chronicles 16.36

Dear Friends,

What blessings we have known from the hand of our gracious God in recent days! You will read in more detail about the joyful events of January 14th elsewhere in the magazine, but how can I begin without mentioning them? We give the Lord all the glory for His goodness towards us. Recent times have only seen the chapel full for times of sadness. What a blessing it was to see 130 ‘crowd the gates’ to rejoice and give thanks!

What was a particular joy to me was the volume and vigour of our praise together. Several have commented to me that they were seized with the happy thought of our songs and prayers ascending to Almighty God. It is a wonderful thing that we are all given voices to express ourselves, and even more wonderful that our Sovereign God delights in our praises of Him. I have been listening to the recordings once again (as I am sure you will understand that it was all just too much for me to take in first time around) and what struck me the most was hearing again the loud ‘Amens’.

Our scripture verse this month is one of three in the Old Testament where it is recorded that ‘all the people said Amen’. There is nothing so heartening to the preacher than to hear the people loudly say ‘Amen’. But what does it mean? It means ‘Let it be so’ or ‘Truly’. With our ‘Amen’, we show our agreement with, and support of, what has been said. Perhaps we do not repeat the practice of others who seek ‘Amens’ throughout their preaching (‘Do I get an Amen? Amen!’) and yet we have many opportunities to say it in our public meetings.

Elsewhere in the magazine is a brief article derived from our recent midweek study on the subject ‘The Church at Prayer’. I mentioned the ‘Amen’ in that study, but I wanted to bring it ‘to the front’ so that everyone would notice. Will you join in, vocally, with a loud ‘Amen’? We do not read that ‘all the people whispered’ or ‘all the people thought in their heads’. No, we read that all the people said ‘Amen’. We may not be able to raise the same sung praise as a congregation of hundreds, but we can certainly raise our ‘Amen’! Let it be heard, my dear friends! Let it be heard in Thornbury and in the very Courts of Heaven!

A loud ‘Amen’ will be a blessing to all who meet here, and especially a strong witness to visitors who come in among us. What will communicate to the seeker after the truth, to the believer in search of a spiritual home, that they have heard the Word of God which can meet all their needs, and that they are amongst genuine believers? Well, the Holy Spirit, of course – but He may use your ‘Amen’ in His work. A church united, a church that loves her God and takes every opportunity to say so, will surely say ‘Amen!’

Do take every opportunity to meet with the church, to praise the Lord, to nourish your own soul, and encourage and edify your fellow Christians here at Morton. Apart from the obvious and unavoidable things that keep us apart, such as sickness and (for some) the need to work, there surely should be nothing else that takes priority over the praise and adoration of our great God and the hearing of His word. Let leisure pursuits and family time find their due place – but as your pastor I plead with you to give God first place.

May God bless you all. Amen? AMEN!

(Jonathan Hunt) Pastor

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