The shofar blasted as some 200 campaigners and stewards gathered on Shabbat for the consecration service to start the Behold Your God finale. The sound of the ram’s horn was a robust call for us to present ourselves for consecration. We gathered to ask God to help us reach His people in the greater New York area—we gathered to dedicate ourselves corporately to that cause.
The service took place in a Chinese Alliance church on the Lower East Side. On the wall hung a cross inscribed with Chinese characters: a perfect reminder that God sent His son for the salvation of both Gentile and Jew alike. Adjacent to that wall, at the front of the church, a huge replica of the Ten Commandments chiseled in Hebrew was prominently displayed.
It was a joyous scene as campaigners greeted and embraced like family. Some were meeting for the first time while others were reunited with close friends and in some cases, relatives.
Stephen Katz and a group of our musically-gifted staff members ushered us into worship with a mix of Messianic favorites and contemporary choruses. Some lifted their voices and others quieted their hearts as we reflected upon the goodness of God and contemplated the impending challenges.
It was truly beautiful to hear so many Jewish people of different languages and cultures worship together with lyrics projected onto a screen in English, Russian and Hebrew. I couldn’t help feeling this was a foreshadowing of the time when every knee shall bow and tongue confess the glory of the Lord.
The worship continued as campaign members took turns washing one another’s feet, a tangible expression of the humility we would need to serve throughout the campaign. The theme of service (to God, to each other and to those we encounter) was woven throughout the ceremony.
Executive Director David Brickner roused our hearts with a sermon about the urgency of our message and how people desperately need life, yet insist on distracting themselves from the realities of death around them. He encouraged the new campaigners to depend on God for boldness and advised the seasoned campaigners to likewise struggle to rely upon God, recognizing their weakness and need for God just as much as those just starting out.
After the sermon, we prayed corporately, again in three languages. This was followed by prayers for the leaders as the chaplains anointed them with oil. Then each campaigner and steward was also anointed with oil by one of the campaign chaplains. This symbolic act furthered the theme of consecration, anointing us in preparation for servitude.
At the end, covered in oil, we all squeezed together for a picture. Whether or not it was intentional, taking time to get 200 people situated and looking into the camera at the same time reminded us that as servants, we must have patience.
We concluded with a final time of worship. As the shofar blasted once again, it seemed a fitting way to emphasize the theme of Behold Your God from Isaiah 40:9, “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!”