(Pictured above Birch Hill Free Church)
It was early evening as I began to cross Confederation Bridge between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. As I drove across the 8 mile long bridge in my car it was silent, I had the window opened to try and catch the smell of salt in the air from the Northumberland Strait below.The sun was beginning to barely set on the horizon. I had visited the grave of Rev. Donald McDonald earlier that day- affectionately called “The Minister” by his people on Prince Edward Island. He had led the greatest Revival in the history of the Maritime Provinces of Canada. He never viewed himself as anything more than the “Trumpet in the Hands of Another”. Going to the Island today you would seldom recognized God’s Spirit had drawn many to Christ there, and there had in past days been such a trumpet to proclaim the Everlasting Gospel as McDonald. It was truly one of the strangest moments in my life, I had never felt so different. I felt deep sense of sadness seeing the state of church on Prince Edward Island, I soon found myself driving back to New Brunswick having to fight back tears.Tears that were onset by the state of the Church of Christ. I had visited with the Free Church of Scotland Ministers who still carry on the work that McDonald began on the Island. I had known of the past work of the Gospel on the Island but I didn’t realize things were truly at such a low ebb. We truly live in a day of small things(Zech. 4:10). The verse that came to my mind while driving was Amos 8:11 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.”
Here in the Maritime Provinces I feel so out place because the Lord’s People feel out of place. There are few of them here. There are few churches interested in worshiping the Living and True God, there a few who want the Gospel proclaimed in all of it’s Glory. There are a few here, and I am truly happy the Lord has seen fit for me, and untrained exhorter to labor among His people here, but it is truly depressing to see the state of things. I wish that I could convey to people living in the United States particularly the American South (from which I hail) how odd secularization feels, how naked you feel in place where whatever vestiges of Christianity remain have largely been removed from the public sphere. Where the people are totally irreligious, and Gospel is thought of as a strange fantasy.
Arriving back in Nova Scotia where for the next few weeks I will be exhorting(before going on to New Brunswick and PEI) I realized just how secular it is here as well. Yet, the Lord still here has a remnant and they are in desperate need. They need laborers to take up the pastoral duties in these Provinces. The ARP and Free Church who have the vast share of Reformed Churches here, are always running a vacancy. This past Sabbath I attempted with the Lord’s help to open Proverbs 14:27 and Exodus 33:18 to the small Congregation of Covenanters ARP. I wanted to open to them the Fountain of Life that is Christ and to proclaim the Lord’s Glory. Ultimately my prayer here is as a Moses said in Exodus 33:18 “Lord show me thy Glory”. I ask for your prayers as I continue exhort, that I maybe as McDonald simply “A Trumpet in the Hands of Another”, that my preaching would edify the Lord’s People and call many to Repentance. Above all though I ask that those who read this would pray for the Churches of the Maritime Provinces, and pray that the Lord sends and equips labourers who with God’s help can open the Fountain of Life and end the drought here.
One can not help but wonder if Donald McDonald himself did not see these days coming when he penned this verse of this hymn:
“Then lament and wail, ye Christians,
Who’ve obtained your pardon seal’;
See the world in rapid progress,
Hasten down the deadly field;
You can’t turn them from their purpose,
To warnings their hearts are steel’d
But Bewail them for their folly,
Poor betrodden down and peel’d.”