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An Holy Assembly

For weeks The Presbyterian Outlook has expressed editorial hopes that the 214th General Assembly would be a Pentecost Assembly — one in which the work of the Holy Spirit would be manifestly evident; that the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the great Head of the Church, would be asserted; that the love of the Sovereign God for God’s covenant people — including the Presbyterians — would be poured out in abundance.
The prayers were answered — decisively!

This was an holy Assembly, understanding the word “holy” to mean that which is set apart from a common to a sacred use for God’s own purposes.

We had, to begin with, an holy moderator’s election, in which all three nominees expressed in the most eloquent way their love for Christ, for the church, for its mission and for all its people. Not in memory has there been an election that produced an outcome in which each of the nominees contributed so mightily not only to the outcome of the election but to the work of the whole Assembly. No one lost the election; on the contrary, each of these distinguished Presbyterian pastors played an all-important role in modeling the way in which God wants our leaders and our people to relate to one another in love and humility. Praise God for these three nominees.

Praise God for Fahed Abu-Akel, whose call to be moderator this year was surely of God. We give thanks for his gracious presence throughout; for his encouragement and lifting up for praise those who had been his competitors in the election; for his humility; for his great love for the church and its mission; for his profound understanding of the world and its seemingly intractable problems, especially in the Middle East from whence he came to us 36 years ago; for his frequent use of the word “holy” from the platform in a variety of contexts, signaling his belief that what was happening was indeed the divine will making itself known through the actions of this duly constituted governing body of the church; for the gracious way in which all sides almost always showed restraint in their words and actions; for the quiet and earnest dedication of the commissioners as they moved through the week’s agenda.

Our prayer is that the 214th General Assembly will be remembered as a turning point in our life together, as the commissioners and others in attendance demonstrated an eloquence, a spirit of humility, a spirit of dedication to Christ, to the Presbyterian Church and to its mission, which was so badly needed to restore the confidence of the people in our churches throughout the land.

All of the fruits of the Spirit, listed by the Apostle Paul, were in evidence at the 214th GA: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

May the spirit of this Holy Assembly spread quickly throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and lead us to fresh commitment to our Lord and his calling to each member and officer and the church in all its parts.


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