A beloved hymn was written in 1865 by Robert Lowry titled Shall We Gather at the River? The spiritual
meaning has to do with gathering at the river which flows from the throne of God But if it were just any old
river, then it would be sad because in the hymn no one ever gets to cross it. They just stand at the edge and
admire it just like most Christians do all their lives.
From the shore they can dip their toes into it, can maybe wade in it’s shallow water, but then they return to
the security of the ground they know so well. If they ever had a vision it’s long been forgotten and stumbling
around and procrastinating are what they know and practice. The only way to cross the river is by faith, to
have a vision or goal, and then crossing to the other side is an adventure gladly embraced. Ahead there’ll
be more crossroads and crossings, more dependence on the Holy Spirit, more satisfaction and revelations.
Left behind is an unfulfilled life indiscernible from anyone else in the world.
There they remain on the shore many rivers behind. They are still undecided, not truly daring to take a step
of faith. No promised land for them, no confidence, never crossing over. They’ll wander aimlessly their
whole lives. They’ll either stubbornly cling to the one church where they’ve always felt secure or they’ll jump
from church to church, always meandering, always being busy without any purpose.
Great choirs are wonderful and inspiring, and so are impressive state of the art organs, beautiful stained
glass windows, fancy pulpits, dynamite sermons and gospel hymns which comfort and encourage. They’re
all good things, but they’re there for the people and not for God. God wants our worship, not our stubborn
traditions. God wants us to step out in complete trust - better yet - to take giant leaps of trust like never
before. No more empty prayers that don’t even reach the ceiling.
Churchianity has obstructed our communication with God. Rarely have I been to a service where the Holy
Spirit is present. Yes, even in charismatic meetings. We are visited with the presence of the Holy One when
our hunger for Him is passionate, when our worship is for real, and when we can put people and things
behind us and seek Him and Him alone. It rarely happens. In fact, most Christians have never experienced
the all consuming presence of the Godhead and wouldn’t recognize it if it did come. Get it right - don’t allow
earthly things to block your intimate relationship with the One who loves you without reservation. Get wet.
Cross the river!
|Cross the River