This Saturday Elim in Scotland will host an event celebrating one hundred years of God at work in and through the Elim Churches. As befits the occasion, we will be meeting in one of Scotland’s iconic conference venues.
The previous sentence could very easily feel like a blurb from a sales pitch for a never-to-be-repeated opportunity. In this case, even though there might well be a two hundredth anniversary, most of us won’t be around to see it – so it’s once in a life time for us!
As for the “iconic venue” bit, that is a cliché, but sometimes clichés express something that is true. We – the regional team under Kevin Peat’s leadership – set out to hire such a venue because we felt it would pay eloquent tribute to the faith of the pioneers, who were never afraid to hire the biggest and the best.
And we felt it made a statement about the future, expressing in a tangible way the faith and aspirations of Elim pastors and Elim people throughout the nation. And, of course, those aspirations extend beyond the borders of Scotland; we are delighted that people from Carlisle and Sunderland will be joining us.
The desire to take a step of faith and join together to believe God for a fresh moving of His Spirit amongst us is one that seems to resonate with leaders and congregations up and down the land.
So what are we hoping for? I am sure that everyone attending will bring their own hopes and expectations to the event.
Perhaps the best answer I can give is found in 2 Chronicles 30.
This chapter details an event that produced something that went above and beyond what was anticipated.
At a time of when Judah faced great pressure from the surrounding nations, King Hezekiah invited people from his own nation Judah and the northern nation of Israel, broken by invasion and exile, to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem.
Hezekiah’s intention was no doubt simply to bring all of God’s people together for an important feast. It soon became evident, however, that not everyone was ready for the feast! Many lacked the necessary ritual purity.
We are told that Hezekiah prayed. Verse twenty records the Lord’s response:
And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.
In the end God honoured Hezekiah’s faith and the people’s response by doing something much greater than simply having a very blessed celebration. May it be so for Elim in Scotland and our friends from across the border on Saturday 17th October.