…have a taste of the ordinary means of grace.
June seems to be one of those months that sits in the middle of the year, minding its own business. Christmas and Easter are long gone, the summer holidays are still a few weeks away and there doesn’t seem to be any special happening at all.
This makes life very difficult for me as I write this letter as there’s no obvious place to start. I haven’t got a church festival to comment on, or any new programmes to invite you to. There was a very serious possibility that this page would be blank.
I don’t think that this lack of activity is a problem. Many of our lives are over-burdened with activity. Our jobs, our family and our leisure activities all demand time from us. Sometimes it feels that we’re on a hamster wheel and can’t get off. And then the church comes along and asks us to do something which we feel we can’t say no to.
However, this shouldn’t be our experience. The church is not another social club but a body of people who belong to God and live for him. We gather together on a Sunday to take a break from the cares of this world and listen to what God has to say to us. We take a break on a Sunday to be fed a great big meal by our great big God. He doesn’t ask us to bring anything to that meal – just ourselves – because he’s provided everything needed for us. Jesus said: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
So enjoy this time of year. Use the time to come to God in prayer and read your Bible. Use the time to sweep away all the other distractions of this life and come to Jesus who will carry your burdens now and forever.
“When you stand on the shoulder of giants you should probably be able to see further than them.”
This year is the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. He was a reformer of the church in Geneva. He was, by all measures, a remarkable man. He studied at university from the age of 13, firstly to train for the ministry and then for the law. He wrote a Latin commentary on Seneca’s On Clemency in his early 20s. In 1536 he wrote the first volume of his systematic theology, Institutes of the Christian Religion. He was press-ganged into serving the church in Geneva and after an initial false-start he spent the rest of his life there.