I can almost hear George Beverly Shea’s 1965 album playing on my grandfather’s record player. My favorite on that album was “In Times Like These.” What gripped my five-year-old heart is the solidity of Christ, our Anchor. At that time, I was just coming out of kidney failure, impending death, and not feeling well at all. Even at five, I knew I needed the Anchor and that I was “gripping the Solid Rock,” but more importantly, the Solid Rock had hold of me.
As the MCA LIVE congregation renews intentionality to our service schedule in alignment with Pastor Michael and the MCA Board of Director’s vision, I know of the discomfort for some of our flock. Our move of the Sunday evening Live service to Saturday evening is, in reality, only a 24-hour adjustment, but emotionally, it is a gigantic change for some. For a portion of our flock, the 24-hour time adjustment is a significant loss. When there is loss, there is grief.
In that light, a portion of our MCA Live congregation is grieving. Grief often is accompanied by shock and surprise, anger toward others, and anger towards oneself, then moves toward a resolution and adjustment to the new reality. Thirty years ago or so, when I added a Christmas Day service, our board was unanimous. “You can lead any service you want; however, we won’t attend and we don’t expect anyone else to want to attend a service on Christmas Day.” The service was full to overflowing from the very first year, and virtually 100% of our board of directors now attend. Resolution, following change, is likely.
A correct response to loss and grief is mourning. Mourning is not a lack of faith, but a God-given response to sorrow. For those who feel deep loss, I encourage you to feel your feelings, weep, and hold tightly to the Solid Rock. Naturally, one feels anger toward that which produced the sorrow. To not be angry at something that threatens one’s well-being is a sign of un-wellness. Unique to Christians is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, Who enables us to experience and share love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and self-control, even in the face of grief and loss. In fact, it is the Holy Spirit Who enables us to “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.” For those with grief, we grieve. With those who rejoice, we rejoice.
As for me, I LOVE night church. My dream world holds church gatherings every night of the week. For about half of eternity, you will find me in heaven’s worship services, if they exist. I also love Sabbath. I have always considered Saturday to be the Sabbath Day and I hold to ten commandments and not nine. The Sunday teams get exhausted, especially with all of the day services we offer each weekend (Ten services each weekend in Anchorage and nearly 100 globally). So, I am combining my love of Sabbath, night church, and ministry to God, the saved, and the unsaved by moving our Saturday evening Greatest Hits service to our new church facility and updating the ministries we offer in full confidence that God will bring the harvest.
The Sabbath evening service, at 5 PM, located at 5150 Abbott Road, is already near capacity in our second week. We are prepared to offer multiple services each Saturday as needed.
Recently, I told Pastor James Martin, “Everything in my world is shifting.” To which his wisdom replied, “That is why we hold tightly to the unshifting God.” AMEN!!!
In times like these, we need an Anchor. War in Ukraine. Global food shortages. Uncontrolled inflation. Covid. And a 24-hour adjustment to the MCA Sunday Night Schedule.
My advice? Grieve. Rejoice. And we’ll see you on Sabbath evenings at 4:30 for Pizza and fellowship and 5 PM for worship and the Word.
And, NO, our music won’t be 1965 George Beverly Shea. :0)