EASTER CAME EARLY

Blog 149
March 2, 2020

holy communion

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE!

Robert L. Wise explores the world of divine interventions from an objective point of view. Can 21st century people believe the hand of God still touches people today?

Read and you’ll find new insights.

EASTER CAME EARLY

Stovall and Kerri Weems started a congregation with seventeen people in l998. Today, they have over 12,000 members. In 2018, the Weems were holding a Good Friday service when a break through occurred. This year they decided that rather than a regular sermon, they would have a “shared experience” of the resurrection. What brought the change? How did it all happen?

Stovall had heard people say they literally experienced the risen Christ, but he doubted those stories. Of course, he was a dedicated Christian, but he wasn’t sure about those contemporary reports. Then they held a special Jewish traditional Seder Passover service where the pastor could and did pray in Hebrew.  As the pastor was consecrating the bread and wine, speaking Hebrew he said, “Take and eat. This is my body broken for you.”

However, as he was speaking in Hebrew, another voice broke in.  An audible voice said three times in Hebrew, “Take and eat. This is my body broken for you.”

The pastor knew he was in the presence of God and was hearing the actual voice of Jesus speaking. He could only stand there in silent shock. The staff sitting close thought something had happened to the pastor standing there voiceless like he was in shell shock. What was going on?

In those moments, the pastor was in a trance and having a heavenly vision of the Passover with Jesus and his disciples seated around a table. He could see and hear them. Here was Jesus of Nazareth just as he had been during his earthly ministry. The pastor could hear his voice with the same passionate authority and strength that it must have always carried when Jesus taught and preached..

When the pastor spoke of a “shared experience” service his perspective had obviously changed. He was speaking out of his most personal encounter. The story of Easter was not a memory from the past or an account in the pages of scripture. The resurrection was a story he had physically touched.

And the meaning? Certainly, there’s no magic in Hebrew words, but something about Holy Communion can reach across 2,000 years and connect with a heavenly reality. Each of us can have our own encounters even though they are personal and different. Even with these diverse paths, we are challenged to reach out so we can say with conviction, “I too have seen the Lord.”
The promise makes Easter possible every month of the year.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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MEET MIKE AND BETH Part Seven

BLOG 52 August 28, 2017 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE! Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world? Read and you’ll find new insights.

communionwindow

We have been exploring the multi-faceted ministry of divine interventions that occur in the work of Bishops Mike and Beth Owen. We are now in a position to draw some conclusions that might be of help.

Interestingly enough, both Leslie Draper and Michael Owen experienced the angelic dimension at young ages. In my conversations with a number of people, I have observed that often young children have spiritual experiences. Before society could impose its own value system on the young, their naïveté allowed an openness that equipped children to see with the eyes of innocents. Mike accepted Christ at the age of eight-years.

The natural tendency of many people is to write off their childhood encounter as being nothing more than a “Winnie the Pooh” adventure when it wasn’t. Digging back into the past can help some people get in touch with that divine avenue they once walked down.

As one follows the history of this couple, it is obvious that they moved through several denominations. Their experience and faith evolved. While people change situations everyday, this is generally not the case in the religious world. However, in the 34 years Michael and Beth have been in the ministry, the larger church setting also radically changed. Mainline denominations became sideline groups. Evangelicals often evolved through the Charismatic Movement and wound up in a sacramental setting. Radical changes occurred every decade.

In the Owens’ case, they attempted to stay open to the Holy Spirit as well as grow in their understanding of how the Christian faith expanded Their openness to variation and modification led them into a greater appreciation of how the Holy Spirit continues to work in people’s lives. While it would be jarring for many people to expect the Holy Spirit to take them to an entirely new realm of experience, the Owens would say that’s the best place to encounter the miraculous.

Beth’s development in the Roman Catholic Church led her into the sacramental life. Through these experiences, she naturally lived in a world of symbols. In time, Michael came to do the same.

The symbolic power of the sacraments is that they bring believers into the spiritual realm where contact with the divine is possible. Holy Communion, also called the is an example. While meanings vary with different denominations, Mike and Beth became part of a church that believes in the real Presence of Christ in the bread and wine. In other words, participants expect to actually experience Jesus Christ through these moments of worship.

The idea of spiritual presence suggests a supernatural order. How Christ is present is beyond human understanding and a mystery. This expression of faith takes one into the world from which miracles come. Mike and Beth believe Holy Communion helps one discover this realm.