Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "God Who Made The Earth"1 (Lyrics)
Most of us older people who are used to the traditional way of reformed worship are happy with that style. We are handed a bulletin as we enter church; we read the announcements; and as soon as the service starts, we follow the order of service. We know when to stand and when to sit. We know when the Scriptures are going to be read, when the prayers are to be said, and when the minister is going to give the message. We like it that way: we know what is going to happen.
One time in a church we attended, everything was going well. The minister had started to preach. All of a sudden, there was a big commotion at the back of the sanctuary. A very inebriated man, not well dressed, smoking a cigarette, stumbled to the front of the church and found his way into a pew. One of the ushers wanted to come forward to escort the man out, but the minister motioned to leave him be. There was a hush all over the congregation; some were amazed, some perturbed, while others wondered what was going to happen next. The man threw his cigarette down on the carpet and squashed it with his boot, and then with tears in his eyes and a very loud voice so that all could hear him, he said, "Pastor, please pray for me."
The minister came down from the pulpit, put his hand on the man's head, and asked the Lord to take the demon of addiction away and to guide him onto a better road of life. The man stayed for the whole service, and several people talked to him afterwards. We heard that he lived in an apartment near the church. Shortly thereafter, he moved away and was apparently doing well.
In Mark chapter 1, we are told what happened after Jesus called His first four disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee:
Mark 1:21-22 – They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. (NIV)
The people were listening to Him as He spoke words that they could understand and relate to. Suddenly, there was big commotion in the synagogue:
Mark 1:23-25 – Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are — the Holy One of God." "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" (NIV)
Immediately the spirit came out.
The commotion in the service that we were at was disturbing, and I'm sure that the people in the synagogue felt the same way. But in both cases, people were touched by Jesus and made whole.
Sometimes, disruptions in our staid services are good, especially when God shows up and wondrous things happen. We need to be much more open to what God is doing, or wants to be doing in our midst when we gather in Jesus' name.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are times when we need Your healing touch and Your guidance. We ask that we will have the courage and the faith to cry out to You when we do. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.