No Empty Chairs


by Marilyn Ehle

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27

Christian DevotionalTherefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:9-11, (The Living Bible)

Christians from almost 200 countries gathered for a conference that both celebrated the work of God around the world and challenged listeners to the work that lies ahead. Detailed plans had been made regarding the venue, necessary transportation, translation technology, food and lodging. Hundreds of thousands of dollars had been spent to insure that people of less wealthy countries could attend and participate on a par with others. The music was grand, the speakers strong in their call to address both spiritual and social problems in every corner of the world.

At one stirring point at the beginning of the conference when flags of representative countries were carried into the arena, one flag had to be held aloft by an individual not a citizen of that country. Even though round trip plane tickets had been purchased and lodging secured, promised visas had been withheld, the government deciding that its country could not be represented.

The seriousness of this situation was not lost on the audience. How could the absentees be recognized and honored without causing political disruption, and perhaps physical danger, to these Christian brothers and sisters? And so, during the time of prayer, instead of an uproar or march, empty chairs were firmly grasped and quietly held above their shoulders. To God and the world, these men and women were unequivocally stating that in the Kingdom of God, all Christians should be free to gather for worship. As well, the message was strong that in heaven, there will be no empty chairs. One day “every knee will bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

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