I’m writing only a couple of weeks after Easter when once again I was astonished, amazed and thankful of all that God has done in Jesus. The unity of the church is something else as it celebrates a pivotal moment in history, a fulfilment of Scripture and the significance of the resurrection. How our hearts are warmed when we recognise Jesus as the Christ.
But the Easter reports in the Scottish news leave me reflecting on the societal pressures in which we live this life of faith. Prominent was the story of falling numbers in churches and some valiant efforts on their part to rebut an apparent bad news story. Even though we know it is all about Jesus, societal norms hem us in.
At this time of year, there is much activity getting ready for beach missions, festivals and camps of various hues. All are undoubtedly rooted in prayer and many people are blessed by an even closer relationship with Jesus. One camper described her life as like a washing line with a clothes-prop in the middle. Camp is at the high point by the clothes prop after which it goes down until the clothes prop of the following year’s camp. For campers and team members, keeping going keeping going all year needs a foundation that may be in the experience of a camp, but to last needs a recognition of who we are and who Jesus is. Societal norms hem us in here as well, the notion of doing what feels good for you is common but fades into insignificance compared to living a life as a follower of Jesus. At risk of sounding pious the lady in church last week who said she has to get something from it in order to keep going doesn’t get it. The constant is our unwillingness to proclaim and live that Jesus is Lord.
There are many props. A key element of camp is the temporary community and quality shared experience. Finding a way to spread such a thing throughout the year by making new friends in church; giving in order to receive which brings a greater blessing. Laying down firm foundations in the faith that sustain when further away from the high point will see us through.
I have often been struck by the note in Samuel that nothing much was heard from the LORD in those days. Then the LORD spoke to Samuel. (1 Samuel 3:1). Further on we find Saul impatient for Samuel to appear and taking the matter into his own hands against the LORD’s instructions. Patience is tricky especially when we want to see God in action, doing something obvious day in day out. These human expectations are ours and society’s. The pressure is for impatience not for patience.
What can be the basis of keeping on keeping on?
“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
Dr. Phil Simpson
Chief Executive, Abernethy Trust
Phil has been with Abernethy Trust for many years and currently serves as the Chief Executive. He is invigorated by seeing lives changed through the quality shared experiences of residential settings, adventure activities and the Christian message. From their home by Loch Tay he and his wife Rosemary are involved in the local community, in Phil’s case including a lengthy stint as Session Clerk in Killin & Ardeonaig Parish Church.