By Pastor Gerald Donovan
Leaders from several churches of Van Horn and Sierra Blanca meet regularly to discuss and pray to God about issues and problems in these communities. These discussions have led these leaders to realize that each individual faith tradition has some beliefs and manners of worship that sets them apart and thus divides the Christian community. However, the basis of all these different faith traditions is common to all Christians. That fundamental belief is in God, as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The last time I counted Christian churches in these two communities there were 13 in Van Horn and 4 in Sierra Blanca. Most of these churches have small denominations of less than 50 people. Unfortunately, it is common to compare one denomination or congregation with another and celebrate our differences. The most common military strategy in war is to separate or divide your enemy into smaller weaker units and then conquer them one by one. This is what Christianity’s common enemy Satan, has done here in our own community, nation, and world.
On Sunday October 22, 2017 the congregations of several churches from Van Horn and Sierra Blanca Texas gathered in the Van Horn City Park to worship together as one in Christian fellowship. Several local church leaders share a vision that God loves the people of these communities and will send the Holy Spirit to empower them in the battle against evil and injustice. As more of his people accept Jesus Christ as their savior and ask that their sins be forgiven, the greater His power will become.
Many people were filled with the Holy Spirit on that Sunday at the “Worship In The Park”, but God and the Holy Spirit was at work even before that Sunday. I meet weekly with a group of men in a pastor’s alliance in Van Horn to discuss and pray for issues that we are concerned about. We decided to close our churches for one Sunday and hold a joint old fashioned outdoor worship service and fellowship program and convinced the “Steele Magnolias”, a traveling gospel singing group to participate in it. The plan was that they would open the worship service for us and then continue back home to San Marcos Texas. About a month before they were to arrive after plans were made and posters printed and distributed, they needed to change their program to 1:00 pm instead of 10:30 in the morning. We adjusted the service schedule accordingly. As we were setting up the chairs for worship that morning in the park I found out that their bus was broke down in Deming New Mexico. However, a friend of theirs had driven to meet them, they loaded their equipment and necessities in a Ford F150 pickup track. Six of the ladies rode inside the truck and three rode in the bed of the truck and arrived in time for their program and individual testimony that touched many of us. Plans are now being discussed for another joint worship project.
The lesson God showed us that Sunday is that he is with us when we listen, discern, and follow his instructions. He is showing those that believe in Him, that it is time to quit playing defense and go on the offensive. It’s time to come out of the cover and safety of our holy structures, and go take the battle to the enemy. Go confront the evil and the injustice.
The good news is that the Spirit is with us in our work! The harvest is plentiful! All we have to do is be open, authentic, vulnerable, and real. All we have to do is open our hearts to be in relationship with our neighbors. All we have to do is seek God’s people and love them.
“36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” NET Bible.