Bethel International United Methodist Church
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Sound the Trumpet in Zion

Thursday, May 3 will mark the 60th year the United States has celebrated a “National Day of Prayer.” With the distrust and venomous words fired across government, family, and even church lines, never has there been a more timely May for this day to come. The prophet Joel writes:

“Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near! Rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing” (Joel 2:1, 13).

That Shofar, that hollowed-out ram’s horn, that ancient musical instrument, sounded at the foot of Mt. Sinai when Moses received the Torah and the 10-commandments. It sounded during the days the Jews wandered in the desert, from Egypt to the Promised Land, whenever they were commanded to move on, to change their locations, or to go forward to their final destination. It was sounded by Joshua and the Israelites as they encircled the walls of Jericho.

It sounds now on every Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), signaling the beginning of a 10-day period of self-examination, repentance, and prayer. It sounds again at the end on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

The Shofar has a high-pitched, somewhat eerie sound. Today we should hear it as a powerful message to not get stuck in our lives, but to “repent” and change directions. It should be a wake-up call to remember to continue moving toward Christ. Its sound should be heard throughout our land.

One of the visions of the National Day of Prayer is to “emphasize prayer for America’s leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.” Paul writes:

“I urge you to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God's mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray for kings and everyone who is in authority so that we can live a quiet and peaceful life in complete godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Come to our 7:00 p.m. Healing and Prayer Service on this National Day of Prayer as we hear the call of the Lord to return to Him, to change our insides and not just our outsides (“rending our hearts and not our clothing”). To make sure our fasting and weeping and mourning are part of a new walk, not just a new talk.

The trumpet sound is actually quite beautiful. It may be an alarm, but it is also God’s loving and faithful voice never giving up on us. For “he has set eternity in the hearts of all of his creation” (Ecclesiastics 3:11).

Pastor Mike Signature