Friday, October 15, 2010
The Evening Before a Solemn Assembly
Tonight I’m preparing my heart for a Solemn Assembly. For those unfamiliar, historically a Solemn Assembly was sometimes called for in the Jewish community following a religious feast and sometimes called for in a time of emergency (national and/or religious). It was the gathering of God's people in order to seek God intensely.
In more recent years a Solemn Assembly is a gathering of Christians who seek the Lord with prayer and fasting, confession of sin and repentance. It also is intense and requires a whole-hearted intent to be touched and changed by God.
Saturday about 65 of my friends will gather for 5 hours of prayer and worship. Pretty remarkable in this day where there is little time for anything much less extended hours for prayer and worship.
I’m anxious. Few attending really know what they are getting in to. I hope they are coming because they have been stirred by God’s Spirit to come because I called this gathering with the conviction that it is God’s invitation for us to draw near. But to draw near to a holy God demands that we be holy (meaning separated unto God and separated from the entanglements of this world).
The talons of our culture have a firm grip on most of us. We like our stuff, our comfort and our pleasures. A Solemn Assembly is an experience with God whereby we open our hearts and invite God to put His finger on anything that He doesn’t like and wants changed.
I’m anxious because this could be the most significant and dramatic life change any of us has experienced. And, if we experience it together then everything is multiplied exponentially!
I’m anxious because we could come nearer to God than we’ve ever been and dare to say no to God. One biblical snapshot that stays before me is found in Luke 18. The story is referred to as the rich young ruler. He apparently was successful and moral and presented himself to Jesus one day implying that he was confident that heaven would be his final destination. Jesus quickly saw that there was an idol (something more important than God) in his life and called for him to sell all that he had and give to the poor. And, Jesus said, "Do this and you'll have treasure in heaven. Come follow me." One of the most heart wrenching statements in the Bible follows.
“But when he heard these things he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.” At the crossroads of the most important defining moment of his life the rich young ruler walked away because his stuff was more important to him.
I’m anxious. How will I respond to God Saturday? How will my friends respond to God? Will we experience God and have a breakthrough or will we keep our distance from God and have status quo?
It is the evening before something glorious or grievous. How many through the years have anxiously sat through such an evening? I feel a kinship with my forefathers in the faith.