Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Welcome! Praise the Lord, for he has brought us into the world He created, and he has gathered us to enter His Kingdom, becoming a member of His Church. No matter where we reside now, at this moment, we have gathered, and we have reunited.
Together, we remember our past, we cherish our present (the soon to be concluded reunion), and we behold our collective future in the Lord. To the many of you who have left Halifax, let me say to you, “I am also your servant, and I extend a warm welcome to your homecoming.”
Today, I have prepared a gift for all of you; it is a vision in my sharing; it is in tandem with our church’s annual theme of “Growing in the Lord.” This gift is from our heavenly Father, and today it is yours to take away.
In the Lord’s calendar, a Jubilee occurs every 50 years. If we believe that this year is our Jubilee, what a blessing it can be! In ancient times, a Jubilee is one of a two consecutive Sabbath years. During the two year of Sabbath, God had His people letting the field lie fallow, so the people could have an extended period of rest to attend to a particular purpose: it is to return home (Lev 25:10-13).
How would we appreciate the Jubilee if it is upon us? If we were once a member a participant of the Halifax Chinese Christian Church (HCCC)–praise the Lord—we have the privilege to receive this blessing—if we believe and claim it by faith. We can have this year of two of Sabbath. Even as the pandemic has impeded many of our plans, we realize that the Lord’s Sabbath, we are in His will, we are in Him, and we continue to grow.
Today, our world is in the midst of a pandemic, but what we are experiencing is a year of Jubilee—by God’s grace. Many fields lie fallow in the world, many plans, hindered. We are not distressed and rushing to finding an egress, because the Lord’s plan plans are for our welfare and not for harm. We shall partake His provision, His bounty, enjoying His Sabbath, to be built up. We also believe, as the Lord made provision for His people of antiquity, He will, us.
In normal circumstance, a believer will experience only one Jubilee in a lifetime. Let us not miss the amazing grace before us, let us hear, see, realize, believe with a thankful heart, if not an obedient heart, partake this blessing.
In the Jubilee, believers return to their home. You are doing that as you joined us this moment. You have returned to your spiritual home erstwhile. Your home is sound; if there were no pandemic, you would be greeted with delicious hot food, as well as our embrace, and sweet dreams would have awaited you after a full day of celebratory activities. Nevertheless, you have come—been transported here by the tools we have. Our memory has also transported us to our younger days. We reminisce, and we remembered our zeal, the love we had at first, our promises, to cherish and to look after our spouse, our family, our uncle, aunt, the elderly of the household, the young; let us also remember our friends from yesteryear, our classmates, and our neighbors.
The pandemic has thwart our plans to carving new trails, but we have an old path; it is familiar to us; it is the path that takes us home. We remember our kin, our friends, at home, or in our youth, in our growing years when our lives first began—they are there, in the distant place of our remembrance, our distant home.
Technology and remembrance have brought us home to Halifax this day; they can, farther places of those place we call home. We visit by our remembrance the people we’ve always known. Many do not know the Lord; they are waiting for us, and they haven’t got eternity to wait. God has given us this Jubilee to return to them; God is waiting for us there, too.
In our Sabbath, we meditate how we have expressed God’s love, in 5 years, 10-, 20- or 50 years. Are we still holding tight to the love we had at first, have we become weary, distracted, become too familiar, have inspired less frequently, have we stopped shedding tears. Do we still remember that the Lord asks us to partake His life in remembrance of Him, and to remember our Lord. At times He is waiting for us
In this once in a life time Jubilee, let’s meet Him, as the disciples did by the shore before dawn. The Lord was preparing food for them; In stillness, disciples put down their burden, their fear, their failure, their regret, their pride, their plans, their undertakings; they laid down themselves before the Lord, and they rested. They detected the Lord’s provision by the aroma of the food. Their hearts were waiting…the camp fire was shimmering in the Lord’s eyes, they were in His glory. Day was breaking; little by little, their faith was restored, and their strength, renewed.
This is the gift I have prepared for you: to realize that by faith, this Jubilee is yours to receive. In the Jubilee, the Lord’s will is for his people to rest; hence, we are not anxious. He has given us the time for us to journey home to find our kin and our friends; they need us to bring the Good News to them. We also journey to our past, to remember our promises, to find the love we had at first, and we also return to our Lord’s presence—this time not to do devotionals but to see His glory, and to live in His light.