The day before….

It is October 31st and the day before “We Gather Together 14” begins. I want to share my thoughts with you as we start this season together.

I am so humbled and honored that you have agreed to take this journey with me. I have been praying for our time together. If you were with me last year during the “25 Days of December”, you will know that this is a journey that I will walk with you. We will go together.

As I prayed about this holiday season, seeking God’s direction, I was drawn to a song written by a group of Dutch Christians in the 1600’s. Denied religious freedom by a foreign conqueror, they sought God during private, secret meetings. Consider these believers as they sang, knowing that at any moment, their worship could bring persecution.

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing; He chastens and hastens His will to make known. The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing. Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own. Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining, Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine; So from the beginning the fight we were winning; Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine! We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant, And pray that Thou still our Defender will be. Let Thy congregation escape tribulation; Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

We need to gather together within ourselves. Our lives are too scattered; items on our “to do” list shout “now” at us. Email, snail mail, texts and phone calls scream for our attention. Our bodies are weary at the day’s end, but our minds keep us from sleep, spinning with thoughts of what needs to be done or what should not have been done. And, we constantly worry about what we have forgotten. We long for rest of times, of personal reflection, and of peace.

At the same time, we want to gather together with those we love. We long to share joy and to become closer. We are weary of sending gifts and greetings based on the cost or the shipping date. We want to be with others and yet we feel uncomfortable by having to ask them to include us. We long for community with those we share histories or futures together and we want them to desire the same from us.

And, we want to join together as communities of believers and of Americans. We need each other and we need God. It is true that the wicked are oppressing, but I encourage you to remember, that He “still our Defender will be!”

Friends, for the next 55 days, come let us gather together.

“See you” tomorrow.

p.s. Remember that “He forgets not His own!”

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