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Sunday, 6 July 2014

So who was there?!

This afternoon, my dear wife and I participated in the first of a series of English-language worship services, planned for this summer, in the France Mission Fellowship in Loches.  Posters had been placed around the town, and leaflets placed under the windscreen wipers of cars with UK number plates (and Dutch and German ones, as well!).  There were six of us, altogether!

What a great disappointment, some might conclude.  All of that effort in preparation, and all of that travel, for four other people.  Not at all!  

I recall, when in the British Merchant Navy, that I always attended the "Divine Service" that was held in the First Class ballroom every Sunday when we were at sea.  It was never an uplifting experience, but was a witness to my shipmates.  However, if we were in port on a Sunday, this service was cancelled, and I made a point of attending a worship service ashore.

On one occasion, we were in the Australian port-city of Melbourne (there's a lot more to it than Ramsay Street!).  The nearest place of worship was the local Anglican church but, although I wasn't yet aware of the idea of ecumenism, I knew that I could worship with others who shared my faith in the sole sufficiency of the blood of the Christ for salvation, and in His resurrection life.  I went along - and increased the number of folk at the service by 50% (and that included the vicar!).

I hadn't been to an Anglican worship service before, so was paying particular attention as we went through the prescribed order of service.  It was as the vicar led up to communion, that I received a wonderful insight.  He spoke the words: "With angels, and archangels, and all the host of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy holy Name."

I looked around, and suddenly realised that the building was packed out!  Oh, I could still see only two other human beings.  But I realised that, all around us, were angels, and archangels, and all the host of heaven!  What a congregation!

We may have been twice as many at that service this afternoon, in Loches.  But what was exciting was that that much smaller building was likewise packed - packed with angels, and archangels, and all the host of heaven!

Sometimes, preachers - and other church-goers - are a bit downcast if the numbers in attendance at any worship service don't match up to expectations.  Don't be down-heartened! Like Elisha's servant (II Kings 6), you only need your eyes to be opened to the supernatural, to realise that, if you are truly there to worship father God, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, through the power of God the Holy Spirit, then you are joined by angels, and archangels, and all the host of heaven.  If that doesn't inspire you, I don't know what will!

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