I’ve been spotty with blog updates lately for a couple of reasons. First, I was on vacation for two of the last three weeks (one week off, then one week on, then another week off – strange I know but it worked out best for my family that way). Second, a dear member of the church, Ed Singler, went to be with the Lord and the week of his memorial service was very busy.
It was a great honor to lead that service and remind his family and church family of the hope we have for him in Christ. Ed was a talented piano player and during the service we played two recordings of pieces he had composed. They were both beautiful and the effect of hearing him play at his own funeral was haunting. At one point during my message I began to cry. That caught me off guard, to be honest. I think the reality of his death hit me when I saw the piano to my right and he was not there playing it as he had done for several years at our evening services. But for those who die in the Lord, we can rejoice even through tears. Ed has joined his voice – and piano playing? – to the heavenly chorus in glory giving praise to Christ.
Now I’m back on duty and ready (or will be, I hope!) to preach this Sunday. I appreciate Dale Clark’s filling the pulpit for me in my absence.
Two Sundays ago at the morning service I resumed my recently-begun sermon series through the Gospel of Luke. The passage was Luke 1:5-25, where the angel Gabriel declares to Zechariah the priest that his barren wife Elizabeth will conceive and bear a son. This was a great promise because it was an answer to their prayers for a child. But more importantly, through their son John the Baptist, God was preparing the way for the coming of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
But Zechariah responded to this great promise with little faith. He disbelieved the angel (I’m an old man! My wife is an old lady! How can she have a child?!) and as a result the angel rendered him mute for the next nine months.
That Zechariah, a man “righteous before God” (v.6), failed to trust in God’s Word ought not to shock us. The best of God’s saints have done the same – Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Peter, and many more. In fact, every Christian has struggled with unbelief. What is anxiety, fear of man, and self-reliance but a failure to trust in God’s promises to take care of us in this life and the next? We’ve all stumbled through unbelief.
But mercifully, God fulfilled his purposes despite Zechariah’s sinful doubt. John was born, Jesus’ birth followed soon after, and God brought his promised salvation to the world. As Christians we can look to Christ and know with perfect confidence that God will fufill all his promises to us. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
At the evening service we continued our study of the Heidelberg Catechism. And I’m looking forward to picking up where we left off this coming Lord’s Day.
Soli Deo Gloria!