I feel funny lately! It is a bit of a wonder to me but some people think I am very serious. I think it may be the scar which runs from the corner of my lip in an arc to the point of my chin. But I love to laugh and taking the risk of immodesty I am a funny person. I heard a story the other day which struck me as very funny, particularly because I could see it happening to me.
A street evangelist was in conversation with a guy on a street corner, before parting he asked if there was anything he could pray for the man. The fellow replied “Please pray for my hearing.” The evangelist did that right away and asked “Any change in your hearing?” The fellow said no. The next day the evangelist brought ‘healing oil’ and, after checking that it was alright, prayed for the fellow’s hearing. Afterward he inquired again “Any change in your hearing?” Again he received a negative, when the fellow said “My hearing is still next Tuesday!”
Not listening and not asking the right question can make life and ministry difficult!
I spent many hours with my children, when they were young, searching and asking “Where is Waldo?” and I was struck by this cartoon.
Jesus was often asked questions and all too often he doesn’t answer the question asked because he has listened for the real question, the question that brought the inquirer to him whether they knew it or not. I want to be like that!
This Sunday the church I attend on Sunday mornings is participating in a “Back to Church Sunday”. I am really uneasy about the title. It sounds like the times where police offer an amnesty to illegal gun owners. “You can turn your weapons in, no questions asked!” My wife who is one of the gentlest souls alive put a nicer spin on it when she suggested that perhaps it was about getting back to church after a summer of travel and family visits.
The real point of “Back to Church Sunday” is, I think, to invite our friends to join us Sunday morning. I only wish they had entitled it in this way. As leery as I am of the title I did feel that any friends who respond to this ham fisted invitation deserve a welcoming introduction to the ‘good news’ that God is on their side. So I inquired what plans were being made for this. The upshot is that I am preaching this Sunday morning.
Jesus came to announce the year of Jubilee, the year of God’s favour. I like to translate that as “today God is on your side!” This is the heart of the good news, that no matter how shattered or alone or bewildered we are we have God on our side and nothing and no one can separate us from His loving care when once we accept His invitation through Jesus to “come to me all who are weary with carrying heavy loads.”
I am hoping some of us will leave lighter Sunday. Please pray for my hearing …. I don’t know the date but one day I’ll give an account and I want to be found faithful.