“The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, made his eyes red, his thin lips blue, and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice, bah humbug.”
I don’t know about you, but when I think of Ebenezer, I think of Dickens’ vivid description of Ebenezer Scrooge, the cold-hearted miser he so brilliantly brought to life in ‘A Christmas Carol’. Scrooge despised Christmas, at least until his ‘redemption’ later on in the tale. Certainly, you would not associate him with fun, merriment, celebration and parties!
But the Bible talks of a very different ‘Ebenezer’, not a person in fact, but a stone. In 1 Samuel 7, the Israelites have turned from their rebellious ways and God graciously responds by coming to their aid and routing the enemy from their midst. In response, we’re told in v12 that Samuel ’took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” Samuel wanted to mark this moment, he wanted the people to remember God’s goodness and might. He wanted to establish a physical means by which people might look back and give God thanks and worship for his faithfulness, knowing this would, in turn, help them to look forward in faith and confidence.
Our Vision and Community Night on Friday 2nd June is an opportunity to lay our own ‘Ebenezer stones’: to cast our minds back over the year and indeed the history of the Church and give God thanks for his constant faithfulness to King’s Church. Venues, people, leaders and many other things may have changed but one thing certainly hasn’t: the faithfulness of God. Paul encourages Timothy, a local Church pastor, that God is faithful; indeed he would cease to be himself if he stopped being faithful (2 Tim 2:13). It is part of his essence.
As we give thanks for His faithfulness, as we celebrate His blessings and favour, as we recall people blessed, venues found, finances provided, battles won and tough times endured we lay our own Ebenezer stones of remembrance. And in so doing we give Him glory, we encourage each other and we rejoice. What’s more, we look forward to the future, to the battles and challenges that God is calling us to, with renewed faith and confidence.
There will also be an opportunity to note down any questions you might have, to understand how your generous giving is stewarded and hear something from me of where we feel God is leading us in the coming year.
So, if you’re a member of the Church do come to The Rose on the 2 June. Come and help lay Ebenezer stones, come and give thanks, come and rejoice … come and have a wonderful, celebratory party in which we look back with gratitude in order to look forward with confidence. Even Ebenezer Scrooge might come to a party like that!