“O that you would rend the heavens and come down…!”
This desperate, prayerful plea from the lips of the prophet Isaiah (64:1) defines the essence and focus of our 2020-2021 First Presbyterian Day School Chapel theme, ‘Awakening: Preparing for Revival!’ Naturally, as you read this verse, one realizes that it is part of a much larger prayer that Isaiah offers to the Lord his God, which begins back in Chapter 63v15. And what’s so intriguing is that Isaiah could so easily have been describing our modern 21st century context in the church.
Isaiah had noticed that God’s people were in a desperate situation: they had forgotten who God truly is, as revealed in Scripture; they had forgotten that He is the infinitely holy, majestic, and glorious God; they had progressively become a people who took their sin lightly, becoming increasingly disobedient to God’s call for His people to ‘be holy for I am holy;’ and they relished in their sinful lives by NOT trusting God, and living as if they were not God’s children! As I write this, isn’t it true that God, through the prophet, is speaking to us today…challenging us with regards to our love of God and our own pursuit of holiness in Christ?
Well, as a result, Isaiah understood and saw the desperate need of God’s people even though they didn’t! And so, he PRAYS with urgency and emotion and conviction: “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down…” You see, Isaiah knew that something supernatural from the hand of God had to happen if there was to be any change. He understood that when God comes down and convicts people of their sin through the pure preaching of the Word, everything changes as people are brought to repentance and drawn to faith in God! But, it is a thing that God must do! However, we are called to PRAY! To pray that God would come down and change our lives!
This is what we’ve been exploring in Chapel as we’ve spent time this semester learning about ‘Why did Jesus come?’ … ‘Who is Jesus through the seven I Am statements?’ … and ‘Revival: what is it; the nature of it; the means of it; and the marks of it?’ Our desire is to encourage our boys and girls to be praying for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit of God, through the proclamation of the Gospel … and I would invite you to join us in that too!
Well, as many of you will know, even our Chapel time has been affected by COVID-19. So, Chapel for our Grade 1 & 2’s and Grade 3 & 4’s has been entirely virtual this year. Virtual Chapel has all the components of a regular in-person Chapel service but is pre-recorded and shown on the screens in each classroom. Our Grade 5 & 6’s had virtual Chapel for the first quarter, but we then moved them to in-person Chapel in the Sanctuary. Naturally, fairly strict social distancing protocols have been followed, and every student must wear a mask, but it has been a beautiful time gathering together to sing God’s praise (where we’re led by some of our students), to come before the Lord in prayer (they too lead us in prayer), and to sit under the teaching of the Word (by our First Pres. pastors). The students certainly seem to appreciate the community! God is Good!
In closing, it’s been a different year but a good year, thus far! Please will you join us in prayer for an ‘Awakening’ in the lives of our young people and for our school at large!
Gary Sinclair, FPDS Chaplain