Pastor's Log- First CME Anchorage, Alaska

The Spirit was Moving!

While preparing for bible study I came across this passage. Genesis 47:7 Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob and set him before Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.

Jacob's meeting with Pharaoh paints a beautiful picture of the meeting of two worlds. Pharaoh was the king of Egypt, probably the most powerful man in the world at that time. He was considered both God and man. Jacob was Israel, the prince of God, the man who had conquered in the spiritual world. Here the two meet. It’s quite remarkable that Pharaoh allowed Israel to place a blessing on him.

This reminds me of a story I heard about the late Bishop Thomas Hoyt, Jr., former Senior Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. I was blessed to serve under Bishop Hoyt on the Seventh District, in the Carolinas. Bishop Hoyt was a New Testament scholar, a preacher, writer, teacher, administrator and pastor.  An article at the website for the National Council of Churches (NCC), where Bishop served as president from 2003-2005, sums up my deeply personal feelings.  “To those who knew him best, however, you haven’t adequately described Bishop Hoyt until you also lift up his generous spirit. ‘He has a heart for the people,’ as put by his longtime friend and colleague, Bishop Ronald Cunningham, also a Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) bishop, and a member of the NCC Executive Board. I can attest to the fact that Bishop Hoyt deeply cared about me and my family! Although an ecumenical and scholarly heavyweight, he was a loving and humble man. I miss him deeply!

The NCC article continues…

As part of his service with the NCC Faith and Order Commission, Hoyt participated in a 1989 delegation that visited Pope John Paul II at the Vatican-and which provided a quintessentially Hoyt moment. It was a human moment. It occurred when he offered the Pope a blessing and asked for his signature on the flyleaf of a Catholic Bible. It soon became evident that offering a blessing, instead of waiting for one, broke a formal rule of Vatican etiquette, as did the request for an autograph. But Hoyt’s sincere spirit of Christian love brought a warm response from the Pope, who also willingly placed his signature in the Bible, much to the surprise of others at the gathering. Hoyt later reflected that his actions may have inadvertently upset “the order of things,” but in that moment, “the Spirit was moving.”

When Jacob blessed Pharaoh, he too broke all manner of formal etiquette and could have been executed. But Pharaoh accepted this blessing just as Pope John Paul II did with Bishop Hoyt.

What a mighty move of the spirit! 


Pastor Jerry Webb