A Letter from the Pastor to Presbytery
July 4, 2012
Yesterday most of the General Assembly committees concluded their business, although a few of them continued hard at work late into the evening. The GA moves into plenary session this afternoon, continuing in plenary through Saturday morning.
Some of yesterday’s committee recommendations could certainly be viewed as controversial, but rather than detail those proposals now, I will report on them only after the whole assembly has acted on committee recommendations.
After this evening’s business session concludes, the commissioners will depart for the roof of the convention center to view the Fourth of July fireworks show at the Point. Someone said that he hopes there are more fireworks outside the convention center than inside.
As the commissioners do their work, some have confessed they feel overwhelmed with the responsibility for votes that could have a profound impact on the future of the church. I assured them we are praying confidently they will be led by the Holy Spirit, even when they are unaware of it.
Ultimately, the welfare of the church depends not on our getting the votes right, but on God’s promise to be both its defender and judge. Of course, God uses human beings like you and me in leading the church into fulfilling its purpose. But let us never presume that our church rises or falls on account of our own doing.
Years ago, I heard a Pentecostal preacher tell the story of an experience he had early in his ministry. After his sermon, there was a great outpouring of blessing on those who came forward for prayer, and he allowed himself to bask in some self-congratulation for all the good his ministry was doing for the church. His good feelings were cut short by a sudden sense of God speaking to him – “I am blessing them not because of what you said, but in order to help them forget what you said.”
The church’s welfare depends not on our getting everything right, but on God’s sure hand and sovereign plan to lead us into our divine destiny. A beloved hymn says it well:
God is working His purpose out
As year succeeds to year;
God is working his purpose out,
And the time is drawing near;
Nearer and nearer draws the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.
Arthur Ainger, 1894
Trusting God’s Providence,
The Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, Pastor to Pittsburgh Presbytery
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