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Solemn Assembly?

About a month ago Roger Albaneze called me and shared what he felt God had given him for our local fellowship. He strongly urged us to call for a Solemn Assembly. Roger had been reading in Ezra and Nehemiah, specifically chapter 9 of Nehemiah. Tonight we will be gathering to honor this humble request. The majority of the article is from which gives a good explanation of a Solemn Assembly.

In the Bible, a solemn assembly is a gathering of the people of Israel for a sacred feast, festival, or holy occasion. A solemn assembly included a ritual of purification or observing a state of holiness in which all the people of the community were commanded to do no work. The solemn assembly is also called a “sacred assembly” and a “solemn meeting.” One Hebrew word translated “solemn assembly” means “a day of restraint”—primarily from work. Another Hebrew term rendered “solemn assembly” denotes a unique, appointed time set apart for the keeping of festivals. On these special worship occasions, the whole community gathered together for either a feast or a fast day.

Solemn assemblies played a role in Israel’s annual feasts and festivals. As part of the observance of Passover, on the seventh day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, God called for a solemn assembly: “For six days eat unleavened bread and on the seventh day hold an assembly to the LORD your God and do no work” (Deuteronomy 16:8). On the eighth day of the Feast of Booths (or Feast of Tabernacles), Israel was to hold a solemn assembly: “For seven days present food offerings to the LORD, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the LORD. It is the closing special assembly; do no regular work” (Leviticus 23:36). The dedication of Solomon’s temple lasted seven days and closed with a solemn assembly on the eighth day, which was then followed by the Feast of Tabernacles: “On the eighth day they held an assembly, for they had celebrated the dedication of the altar for seven days and the festival for seven days more” (2 Chronicles 7:9). During times of crisis, the people of Israel gathered in solemn assembly for special days of fasting. When a devastating plague of locusts brought drought and famine to Israel, the prophet Joel called the people to a solemn assembly: “Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD” (Joel 1:14; cf. 2:15).

Today, some Protestant churches hold solemn assemblies for the purpose of corporate soul-searching and self-examination. Typically, the congregation comes together for repentance, confession of sin, and fasting. This is what will be happening tonight at 6:30. Please consider not eating supper/dinner tonight and having a scripture passage to share.

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