Yesterday I was back in the Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, Toronto after a twelve-year absence which shrunk in significance as we greeted many old friends and found ourselves in a largely unchanged cathedral setting. My last post mentioned my delight at being invited to a church that takes preaching so seriously that they actually budget to bring in international preachers during the summer! Certainly, summer holidays definitely made impact on numbers, especially because it was Canada Day (July 1st) weekend....yet levels of engagement were as high as ever.
Following the morning service several spoke about the message. One woman shared her experience of encountering Christ and her 'need to lay aside all her assumptions about how life works...to accept that God's grace utterly baffles the intellect. It just doesn't make sense to a world that insists on seeing and touching does it? But how glorious it is to be able to say by faith that Jesus Christ IS alive!'
To my joy, in the evening service (yes, the church has the full works on Sunday evenings too!) I was able to repeat this comment within my sermon on prayer. I say 'to my joy' because I believe strongly in sharing the witness of the congregation whenever possible. Nothing makes for sermon reality like hearing congregational members' experiences. Usually, I ask permission and check details but time was pressing. And I found out afterwards that she was present! I said that I hoped I had done justice to her words and that she didn't mind....to which she said it was incredibly affirming to have shared in that way! Actually, many others also shared their own prayer experiences after the evening service.
So the preaching adventure has begun very encouragingly - thank you to all who have been remembering us in prayer.