The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Dullness and slowness

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I had a full day yesterday, and discovered myself a little under the weather in the course of it.  A dull brain that refused to accept the notion that I had made any preparation, a weary and slightly fevered body, and one or two other niggles made for a long day (and that’s just how I felt it to be).

We began with Sunday School, continuing our look at the roots of godly discipline of our children by putting the nature of liberty alongside the nature of a child.  Reasonably straightforward stuff, you might have thought.

The morning service kicked off badly when I discovered that my watch had finally packed up.  I discovered this when I realised that the minute hand was not moving, and that I was a couple of minutes late in starting.

These, I think, are the days when we are reminded of our own dispensability, and rejoice that the kingdom is not in our hands.  It never does depend on us, but how often those days come along when we are forcibly reminded of what a blessing that is.

I preached in the morning – with a fair lack of fluency – on Biblical manhood and womanhood, concentrating now on distinctive identity.  I reminded the congregation of the foundation of essential equality: created dignity, native depravity, and redemptive reality.  Upon this foundation we must understand that the man and women – created in God’s image – were nevertheless created male and female, with definite, defined and distinctive roles.  This identity is fundamental; our relationships are determinative; our behaviour flows appropriately from our distinctive identity in terms of a given relationship (e.g. family, church, society).  I highlighted some principles for men and women, deliberately giving the men the hardest time as those who are to be courageous leaders rather than irresponsible victims.  I confess that the absence of manly vigour among many Christian men and churches cuts me deep.  I had to set out these things more broadly than deeply, but sought also to root the recovery of our masculinity and femininity in the grace of Christ.  Only at the cross are those distinctive identities restored, for while sin dehumanises, grace rehumanises.

In the evening, I preached from Hebrews 13.5 on God himself our present help.  We began with the context of the promise, looking both at what lies on and beneath the surface of the exhortation to avoid covetousness and be content.  The assurance of the promise lies in the fact that God himself – the faithful, merciful, powerful, insightful, eternal God – speaks with all the reliability of divinity and the force of five negatives.  The history of the promise – the times and places in which God spoke these words before – reveals a fine pedigree, broad scope, and long proving of God’s faithfulness.  The substance of the promise is simply God’s presence and assistance: it is a covenant affirmation that we will ever be with us to help us.  The sweetness and sufficiency of the promise lie in its being anchored at the cross and meeting every possible circumstance that any child of God individually or all the people of God together might ever meet.  God has it covered!  Finally, there are the effects of the promise: faith, contentment, confidence, courage, and cheerfulness.

This morning I had some errands to run, and was running them at a speed commensurate with my still slightly-ropey condition: I needed replacement tyres (semi-slicks rather than off-road monsters) on my bike, and discovered simultaneously that my brakes had been set up badly, which explained something of my laborious efforts since I bought the thing!  I had been blaming the tyres and the baby-seat (or, more specifically, the growing child in it).  I also discovered that my watch is probably beyond repair, picked up a book from the Post Office that for some reason could not be delivered, and came home to a monster boxful of review copies that I need to start ploughing through.  Where do the days go?

Ah, well.  Onward and upward . . .

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 18 May 2009 at 15:00

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