Let us, therefore, approach God’s throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
Some bold actions were taken at this past Sunday’s worship service. Most recognizable was the ordination of Ginger Mann and Dale Williamson to the diaconate. Ginger and Dale heard the call of God to serve their church family, and they each responded by stepping forward with boldness. It was equally bold when our church affirmed their call by setting them apart for this specific ministry. Entrusting such a consequential responsibility to imperfect and flawed human beings is surely an act of profound faith in God’s power to equip willing servants. These instances of boldness were on full display, and we rejoice that the Lord is providing the grace-empowered deacon body we need.
Alongside the boldness demonstrated by our newest deacons, there was also a less obvious act of boldness that took place during the time of invitation. Several of our active deacons came forward to pray for our church family at the front pews. The deacons and I believe this practice will provide one avenue for our church leadership to remain vigilant and focused in prayer. In addition, we hope our deacons will be able to set a bold example.
To be sure, stepping out of a pew like this during a worship service can prompt a lot of anxiety in us. We wonder what others will think…We feel vulnerable…We fear the worst—that others might realize how insecure we really are underneath the shallow veneer of our best efforts to pretend all is well. So we might wonder why any of us would feel compelled to respond publicly. Wouldn’t it just be easier to pray in our pew? “Besides,” we think, “I wouldn’t want anyone to assume I’m trying ‘wear my faith on my sleeve’…”
Despite our overwhelming preoccupation with what others might assume when we respond, that dimension of coming forward is actually not where the boldness lies. The real boldness in responding publicly is to be found in the conviction that the Sovereign King of the universe allows us—even summons us!—to approach the throne of grace, here and now. Clearly, we do need to avoid the dangers of limiting our faith to a showy, self-righteous spectacle. But it creates a false dichotomy to pit our private prayer life against our public responses to God’s discernable movements and promptings.
Healthy Christian practices include both the private and the public, times for silent reflection and times for outspoken witnessing, moments to sit still and moments to let the Spirit move us. My prayer is that the Lord would instill more boldness in us, “so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.”