Weekend Away in Milton Keynes, Older Women Workers, Talk on Mark 6
An amazing few days!
A weekend away at a De Vere venue (Harben House, Milton Keynes) with good food, both physical and spiritual.
Yellow, juicy, zesty, citrusy lemons will forever be linked in my mind to facets of the cross – penal substitution, the Bob The Builder complex, victory over Satan (though not the way C. S. Lewis portrayed it in Chronicles of Narnia), unity with Christ – dying and rising with him, and the model Christian life…and also a diagram that was unfortunately reminiscent of cosmological visuals of wormholes and so special relativity and attendant time travel references. A chat initiated by the Evening Minister, who has one or two of the same issues, was very helpful, even if he felt the need to announce this to the general public after.
Was meant to have written a talk on Saturday afternoon, but The Rugby, UNO, and Monopoly Deal got in the way. Unusually, won all card games played over the weekend – President and Scum, Monopoly Deal, Hearts (or Black Maria). So-called friends astutely pointed out that the only game I lost at was that which required the most skill – darts.
Drove back to London under a shower of graupel, for a brief attempt at writing the talk before welcoming people to Evening Service and dinner fellowship after.
On the first day of School after half-term, we had a very good talk on dealing pastorally with bereavement, and chatted with the speaker for more than an hour afterwards. She was full of years of wisdom and a graciously fielded my incessant questions (despite being fully aware, I think, of my reputation. “Oh yes, I’ve heard about you!” is never a good thing in my case!).
After a very encouraging but tiring prayer supper, decided to splurge on a Tube ride home. Chatted with some Second Years about job interviews and how interviewing for Christian jobs was quite different – the interviewers were genuinely interested in finding out not just if people were the best fit for the job but also if the job was the best for the person. And before one interview session, all the candidates came together to pray for each other – that in his sovereignty, God would give the right person the job – the right person who could best serve the congregation, and that the rest would be able to rejoice for him/her.
Finally got cracking on the talk at midnight, working through the night, sustained by a bottle of strange-tasting English Cocoa Cola. Had to repent again for not prioritising preparation for the teaching of God’s word. It should not be something hammered out to a deadline but carefully studied, meditated on, lived out, and then taught faithfully. God was merciful enough to the listeners that they found themselves encouraged by his word in Mark 6, and sufficiently so that they requested copies of the talk to take home for further meditation. Disconcertingly, there was gushing again about God-given gifts which did not help the guilt I felt about the whole affair!
Thankfully, there is always the opportunity to repent and the assurance of forgiveness. So all in all, an amazing few days.