The Early Signs of What’s to Come
“When you hear a sound like shuffling in the tops of the poplar trees, be on the alert! That will be the signal that the LORD is moving ahead…..”
(2 Samuel 5.24)
I can’t believe that I even remember this obscure verse from the Old Testament! These were words often used by the elderly members of the Pentecostal Church to encourage us young ‘uns to watch out for the signs that God is beginning to do a new thing.
Lammastide – the Recognition that the Blessing is Beginning
The 1st of August is a minor feast day in the Church of England – it’s Lammas Day! Back in Anglo-Saxon England, this was the time when the early part of the grain crop was beginning to ripen. Enough grain was gathered up and ground into flour to make the first Llaf – Anglo-Saxon for loaf of bread! (Lammas means Llaf-Mass, the loaf thanksgiving) Although the harvest was still far off, in some tiny way, the harvest had begun, and a loaf was brought into church for a blessing as the first sign that the harvest was on its way – the LORD is moving ahead….
Discerning the Signs
At the moment Jonathan and I are having a little bit of a struggle to get to know names across St. Luke, St. Thomas, and St. Mary. That’s because there are people coming to church who have never been before; or friends from many years ago who have decided to return to church! Added to that are many enquiries coming through asking the times of services across the Team, and the need to restart 8.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. Sunday communions. Is this “a sound like shuffling in the tops of the poplar trees?” or a tiny loaf from the first few grains of growth?
At the St. Luke’s July PCC, we discussed together a tentative vision of what we’d love to see our Team Ministry becoming. We began to ask questions. Where is the church was really going? What is the fundamental purpose and direction of our ministry? What needs reviewing and remoulding to meet the essential needs of our parishes? How could we tell if we were making any progress? ……. Is this a sign that God is beginning to do a new thing?
Praying and Watching as God’s Future Unfolds
“I’ll climb the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I’ll wait to see what God says; how He will answer….” (Habakkuk 2.1 – MB)
In this small book of the Old Testament, Habakkuk has brought his anxieties and requests to God. In the verse above, with great confidence, he resolves simply to watch the LORD respond, and to tick off, step by step, God’s gracious answers to his dreams and prayers.
In this Lammastide may we rejoice in all God’s workmanship, pray for the future of our ministry, and scan the horizon for His unfailing provision.