When we arrived in Wengen, we noted that our hotel is located next door to an English speaking church called St. Bernard’s Wengen. In fact, they are serving light refreshments within a half an hour of our arrival. We were suffering from the altitude so this was a wonderful welcome for us. We checked in to our hotel and then attended the social hour and got acquainted.
Having an English church near us meant:
- We didn’t have to spend time looking for a church.
- We could sleep late.
- We had a VERY short commute.
- Weather would not be a consideration.
- We could just listen to the sermon instead of trying to figure what is being said.
- We would be less concerned that batteries would die due to mapping, translating and Bible programs.
- We would use technology less since there are Bibles in the pews.
John, an English-speaking Resort Chaplain, and his wife Mary live in the Isle of Man, a Protectorate of the United Kingdom. They are Celtic Christians. They come here for two weeks each year and rotate with other pastors from Intercontinental Church Society (ICS).
ICS is an Anglican frontier mission agency. Their stated purpose is: Mission and Ministry in English for Everyone. With 20% of the Earth’s population speaking English, they use English as a gateway language so that people can hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is an opposite approach of translating the Word into native languages and certainly fills a void. Also, they are ministering to the traveller, vacationer, and other transient locals. I have often looked at the loads of people enjoying the ocean at Virginia Beach on a Sunday morning. Maybe I will start my own resort ministry and call it Sandy School.
I didn’t realize that Trinity Sunday was always the Sunday after Pentecost. Trinity Sunday is when church celebrates the mystery of Three in One. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Someone once explained it to me that it is like water: it can be liquid, or solid, or a gas and it’s still H2O!
Isaiah 40: 12-14, 21-23, 26-31
2 Corinthians 13:5
2 Corinthians 5: 5, 11-14
Three-fold purpose of the Trinity:
- Love of God
- Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
- Fellowship of the Spirit
Just like the Alps can’t be weighed or measured, the Holy Spirit is unseen like the wind but can be felt. It is a force and influence. One must be vulnerable to feel the power of the Holy Spirit.
Every day we see paragliders glide from on top of the mountains to the meadows below. It is breath-taking and the paragliders are vulnerable.
It takes courage as they must step out in faith. Regardless of their courage and faith, they must ensure their safety by making sure that they are properly prepared.
Take heed because negligence or lack of preparation have dire results.
1. Personal-check your own equipment.
The same is true for us. Examine yourself. Pray without ceasing. Study the scriptures. Be prepared.
2. Buddy or official check. This occurs for not only paragliders but bike races, auto racers, etc.
This is also true for us. Be in right relationship with others and God. Don’t start out on a journey without a having knowledgeable ones make sure that you are safe and prepared.
Rob and I weren’t thrilled to drink from the same cup as everyone in the church. We still had hacking coughs. Fortunately for us, we were among the first to take communion. I tried to make my lips as little as possible so that when I drank, it might minimize innoculation of the whole congregation.
I was impressed of the specificity of the prayers for the world:
- Equality for woman in Switzerland (A march had just taken place that week)
- Political marches and violence in Hong Kong over proposed extradition of prisoners to China
- USA and Iran Relations/Nuclear Concerns
- Care for Environment
I have never heard prayers that mainly dealt with current events.
Mary gave me a book as she felt called to do so. Since she was aquainted with our yearlong adventure, she felt that I would contemplate its meaning through observing the good and the bad in the people that I meet. But more importantly, we will see that same good and bad in ourselves. Truly a time of self-examination.
Mirror Images: Seeing Ourselves in Other People by David Adam
How lovely it was to sing hymns! The focus of the hymns were the Trinity.
- Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty
- There is a Redeemer
- Lord of All Hopefulness, Lord of All Joy
- How Great Thou Art (I don’t think that I will ever sing this song again without tears welling up in my eyes. God has touched me deeply with his splendor!)
How Great Thou Art
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
(This 3rd verse builds to let us know that Salvation through Jesus Christ is an infinity more beautiful that Creation.)
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin.
(This fourth and final verse shows that heaven creation will be an infinity more beautiful than earthly creation. God proclaims that “you ain’t seen nothing yet”! There is a lot more that awaits you in heaven)
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration
And then proclaim: “My God, How Great Thou Art!“