The Synod in May 2022 appointed a Day of Humiliation and Prayer to be observed throughout the Church on Wednesday 7th December 2022. In his motion Rev D A Ross said that such a day “is not appointed out of mere custom but in keeping with the Word of God where we have instances of setting apart such days in times of distress to plead with Almighty God to show mercy. Godly Queen Esther did so when the Jewish nation was appointed to be destroyed by wicked Haman. The godless heathen king of Nineveh also did so in response to the predicted destruction of the city for its excessive wickedness.
The solemn reality is that we too live in dreadful times. The decline in churchgoing is exceedingly alarming; we need not look further than ourselves as a Church. For example, in one joint congregation in the Western Presbytery, 24 members and 341 adherents signed a call to a minister in 1929; today the number attending is less than ten. Moreover, in many places where once we had spiritually-lively congregations we no longer have a presence. What a sad decline! And it is likewise in the visible Church generally. To make matters worse, sections of the visible Church have descended to support fornication in its worst form, that of sodomy. The Westminster Confession of Faith states: “The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan” (chapter 25, paragraph 5). What else can we say of any professing Christian Church that would support these vile sins which brought Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes?
Add to that the awful judgement of war in Ukraine which has impacted the whole world. In Odessa, Ukraine, we have one small congregation struggling, along with their fellow citizens, against the relentless barrage of weaponry set to destroy the city and kill its inhabitants.
These, and the many other evils which we are daily alerted to, must surely drive us to the throne of grace to earnestly plead that God would look, in His great mercy and infinite pity, upon our poor benighted world as it descends deeper and deeper into moral and spiritual darkness. What He did for the poor Gadarean demoniac, may He graciously do for us.
May we continue to present our humble pleas to the God of heaven, that He by His Word and Holy Spirit would turn the tide of iniquity. Without this divine intervention we will be left to unimaginable evils and sufferings immeasurably worse than that brought about by the pandemic.
‘Lord, bless and pity us,
shine on us with Thy face:
That th’ earth Thy way, and nations all
may know Thy saving grace.'”
(Psalm 67:1, metrical version.) (Rev) Keith M Watkins, Clerk of Synod