Broken Bread

A Fresh Revelation of God for the Church Facing a Spiritual Exile

A fresh revelation of God, his sovereignty and power are a meaningful new beginning for the Church that encountered a spiritual exile during the pandemic.

After a year-long debilitating experience, everyone hopes for a new beginning with the new year’s arrival. To understand an appropriate fresh start, the right perception of the current crisis is inevitable. The sudden changes to every aspect of life, including spiritual activities, were unprecedented during this period. Young and old, rich and poor alike instantaneously got acquainted with a digital lifestyle. Along with communication and commerce, most of the spiritual activities are heavily dependent on the media. The pandemic forced the oldest Christian tradition, Roman Catholicism, to the newly formed independent house churches to reinvent their liturgy, rituals, and spiritual activities to fit in digitally. While sacramentalists’ spirituality is closely connected to liturgy and place of worship, for the non-sacramentalist, it is rooted in spiritual experiences and corporate worship. While carefully crafted ecclesiastical architecture that reflected profound theology sustained its influence on the traditional churches over a millennium, ecstatic worship with kinesthetic movements and speaking in tongues marked the spirituality of the Pentecostals and Charismatics (Albrecht Rites in the Spirit, 1999). Undoubtedly, in the pre-pandemic world, many of these practices were becoming hypocritical and ritualistic. The disruption caused by the pandemic increased the number of virtual meetings. It also produced new worship leaders, preachers, pastors, prayer warriors, and even virtual churches based on social media. However, we are yet to see its impact on the faith and devotion of the Church in the post-Pandemic world. These are clear signs of a spiritual exile of the Church. 

A new beginning is inevitable, but the Scripture testifies that it will have a divine origin. God always produced something new after every major crisis in history. Isaiah’s prophecy attests to one of those historic new beginnings during Israel’s Babylonian exile (Is 43:18,19). It appeals to relinquish the past and receive the new thing God is accomplishing. Isaiah’s first forty chapters portray the “former things”: the spiritual decay of Israel transpired through their social life and worship, which deprived them the freedom to live and worship in their homeland. The second part (chapters 40-66) assures them of the new beginning from God. This includes the promise of deliverance through Cyrus and rebuilding of their temple (44:28-45:1). However, the primary focus is on a fresh revelation of God, presented as a recurring theme with a strong emphasis on his sovereignty, uniqueness, power, and assurance to care for them. Moreover, it presents an obedient servant through four servant songs (42:1-9; 49:1-13; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12), which is central to the new thing that God is doing is finally fulfilled through Jesus.

A fresh revelation of the creator, a genuine realization of his sovereignty and power, was the new thing God fashioned for the Israelites devastated by the exile. It served as the divine providence for their restoration. Similarly, a fresh revelation of God, his sovereignty, and power is a meaningful new beginning for the Church that encountered a spiritual exile during the pandemic. Isaiah’s appeal that drew the backslidden Israel’s attention to their maker is relevant for the Church that entered a new year, still searching for answers.

Pastor Thomas Samuel<br> London, U.K.

Pastor Thomas Samuel
London, U.K.

Rev. Thomas Samuel is Minister at Word of Hope Christian Fellowship Luton (affiliated to AOG, U.K.), and Chaplain at NHS Bedfordshire Hospitals U.K.; online Discipleship Coach with Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He is married to Praisy and they have three children.

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