A few weeks ago, I went out for a Sunday morning walk across Manhattan. Well, actually, the excursion didn’t start off that way. Since our mission church meets at three in the afternoon, Sundays, I had gone out to visit another assembly of Christian brethren that morning. When I got to my destination though, I found that evidently the congregation has either moved or ceased to exist as a church. I kept walking. I walked (all-totaled) from 26th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue to the eastern end of 54th Street on the East River, just north of the United Nations complex. I entered an ice-covered park overlooking the river and stood, all alone, looking out at the old barge-dockings, watching the currents interacting in the river relatively close to where I was standing. I spent much time in prayer. I read a newspaper. I watched as an occasional duck swam by, going downriver. Behind me, the traffic whizzed by on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Highway. To my left, five or ten blocks north was the Queensboro Bridge and the overhead tram traversing every few minutes between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island.
Sunday mornings in Manhattan can be truly quiet spans of time. While the weekdays have their noise, traffic, horns, jay-walking, rush hours, bus-maneuvering, and crowded trains every few minutes, this Sunday reminded me of the line in the Christmas hymn which softly utters, “All is calm, all is bright.” I thought ahead to the heavenly Sabbath of rest which is coming upon this whole earth in the Day of the LORD. I look forward to that rest, and I thank God that to Israel there remaineth a rest for the people of God.
Pastor Bill continued his exposition of the book of Matthew in the Sunday service today, speaking from the first verses of the eighth chapter. It is certainly interesting to note that though touching a leper was forbidden by the law of Moses due to the disease’s defiling and deadly effects, Christ had the power to impute health and create wholeness in an otherwise hopelessly defiled body. This is a metaphor to mankind’s ruin in native sin and Christ’s ability to impute righteousness and new life to the believer.
Becoming aware of just how biblically illiterate the majority of people who attend our chapel services are in this era, Pastor Bill started a short sermon series this week during the Thursday and Saturday chapels – an introduction to the Bible. I have heard that many were greatly moved to attention as Pastor Bill summarized and explained the context of the five books of Moses. I too am aware of just how lacking in foundational knowledge of God our culture has become today, especially with the incursion of the theory of evolution and its subsequent theft of the working knowledge of man as created in God’s image yet fallen into sin. Right now I am reading through the book of Genesis with a recent convert.
Several people in the past few weeks have requested copies of the Bible. We seem to be having more people interested in possessing a Bible lately, and this is especially significant in a city in which apartment space is often very limited, thus limiting a person’s quantity of possessions. So far, we have been meeting peoples’ requests for Bibles out of an old box of abandoned Bibles in the basement. If anyone would like to donate to this cause, even on a one-time basis, we would be greatly appreciative.
A dear lady asked me this week to meet with her sometime and explain to her exactly what salvation is. How dear it was to be able to tell this dear one simply from the Scriptures how God offers salvation from the righteous judgment of our sins through His son who died for those sins in our place. This salvation is of God’s grace, upon faith in Christ, and it leads to knowing God through Christ. How good it is that the entrance of God’s words is giving light; it is giving understanding to those who lack. We hope to see God bring in a harvest of new converts in the near future. As I speak before communion in our weekly church services, I watch a congregation listening with rapt attention to the meaning and appurtenances of the ordinance. Several people also have recently expressed interest in joining the church.
Continue to pray that God would send us another intern to work this summer and stay, we would hope, for at least a year. Pray that God would send a well-fitting person who would be effective in the Gospel work here. May God bless the readers of this weblog.