Here’s another Hope Fulfilled story from my personal journal. This was written 15 years ago, a few days after my second Easter Sunday worship service at the church I was then serving as pastor. This journal entry is about that service. I have to explain that in this service I was introducing something which would break a long standing tradition at this church. Communion was served at this service. Communion was served with the ushers taking the communion elements to the people, who remained seated. What was going to be different this time, was that I would invite the people to come forward and stand or kneel at the communion rail, where I would serve each person. Does the statement “We never did it that way before” sound familiar? My hope was that at least a few people would participate in what was to them, a new thing. My fear was that no one would participate. Here’s what happened. Also new was a dramatic sketch as part of the sermon, and the recently introduced praise band (in which I played saxophone):
I believe it was the most glorious Easter service I’ve ever experienced (attended or conducted). All the elements of the service fit just right – the dramatic sketch (our first), a song by the praise band (The Witnesses), the choir, ministry with children, the sermon – which I truly preached from the heart, and the call to the communion rail. Would the people come forward to the communion rail? I wasn’t sure. Again, I had heard the now familiar words, “we never did it that way before”. But they did come. They filled the rail. Two deep in one spot.
I had to stop singing. I was so overwhelmed as they came down. And then – to top it off – my daughter Christine, who was home from college, came down. That was too much. Oh yes, Jesus was alive and present – standing in our midst. And we did all that (or God did it) in the frame of the usual service.
I believe that God used this and other situations like it to instill within me this belief that if you hope for something, and what you are hoping for is in accordance with God’s will, then God will assure that your hope will be fulfilled, in God’s time and God’s way. I have also come to understand that this means that all of us, individually and collectively (church, family, community, nation, etc.), if our hopes are to be fulfilled, then we have to listen to God and discern God’s will concerning whatever we are hoping for, to the best of our ability. Otherwise, what we are hoping for will be nothing but wishful thinking.
Grace and peace, Ray
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
Patty Perez and Ray Gough
We also invite you to view our other web-site Ray of Hope Ministries On-Line Bible Study www.rohmbible.wordpress.com