If we are asked to take a seat, that should give us a measure of security. We are welcome. But to be seated with Christ, that is beyond human understanding, but not beyond faith.
The first time I met Esther, she was seated alright. We were at college and a friend wanted me to meet her. She took me to her room. We heard a clear ‘come in!’ but - where was she? As I entered I could not locate her until I lifted my eyes and there she was, perched on the round back of her sturdy office chair which was against the wall, her feet on the seat. Somehow it was much too ordinary to sit as anyone else of us would do.
I’m sure that, as a child, Esther thought sofas were meant to be bounced on, or chairs to be made into tunnels or even castles. Life was not meant to be ordinary, but exciting.
No wonder she entered with joy into the life we are offered in Christ, and she set out on a life of adventure with God, working for over twenty years in Africa.. Yes, she knew what it was to be seated with Christ in heavenly places.
So how could it be that now, in her old age, she did not know how to sit down? Eventually she realised she did not have to perch on the arm of her chair but dared to yield herself to the comfort of its seat.
I was grieved to see the deterioration of my dear friend, such a great women of God, but my companion assured me that she was not unhappy in her dementia. Indeed this friend she loves to drive me over to visit Esther as she is so blessed by hearing her sing. Once we get her singing the wonderful songs she learned in Sunday School, or in her early years in church, we have a little bit of glory. Her voice is still as strong as in our college days where she was chosen to sing the solo parts of Bach’s glorious chorales. Perhaps it is no wonder she doesn’t know what to do with a chair after misusing them for so long, but she knows a wonderful security in her relationship with Jesus, and she is still seated with Christ in heavenly places.
Monday, 9 May 2016
Driving out of the estate of Cricket St. Thomas, made famous for the filming of ‘To the Manor Born’ we had enjoyed a break with Bridgens Tours, but now, packed into our comfy minibus, we noticed this one solitary lamb. What was he doing there all on his own? Obviously some days since his birth, for his legs were strong, we knew he should not have been alone. All week we had enjoyed watching the flocks of sheep, their little ones gambling around or suckling contentedly.
We had nearly driven through the gates when we caught a glimpse of an elderly shepherd. He already had a newborn in his arms. Doubtless he was intent on taking it home to the farmhouse where his wife, maybe, would care for this helpless little one when he had spotted the wanderer, and was now striding purposefully towards it.
No, this one was not in need of the warmth of the kitchen or of a nourishing bottle, just of being rounded up and sent in the right direction to where it would be reunited with his mother, safe and protected.
How comforting to know that however long we have been walking with Jesus, and though we are still prone to wander, we cannot go beyond the care of Jesus, our good Shepherd.
And perhaps God was using that wayward lamb to remind us that none of us are meant to ‘go it alone.’ Yes, all we like sheep have gone astray, but the Good Shepherd has brought us into his flock and into his green pastures, and is far more concerned for each one of us, that we should not stray beyond his care.