26th March 2012

Vive La Difference!

“Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me…”
Psalm 19:12-13 (NKJV)

Are you a night person, or a morning person? An owl or a lark? Are you one of those who wakes with a start and is out of bed with a merry whistle and a smile on your face? Or do you crawl out of bed as though you were within an inch of death, and only come to life slowly after a cup of coffee or some breakfast?

I’m definitely in that latter category. I don’t do early mornings, unless I have to. I much prefer a gentle awakening. That’s why Sir Terry on Radio 2 was far too brash for me. Only the quiet, unexcited tones of the BBC World Service has the right degree of urgency to get me to open my eyelids and face another day.

It’s good that we’re all different. Not just male versus female as the French proverb notes. But when it comes to Christianity, Christ calls us all to believe in his Son. From that base line of belief there may well be striking differences in methods of worship, practices within the fellowship, even unique differences.

I used to think that all these different fellowships couldn’t  be right. Somewhere, somehow, one had to be right and all the rest wrong. These days I’m not so sure. I have come to the conclusion that God is bigger than I thought he was. And his love for us all is unbounded. It seems to me that he has provided suitably tailored ‘homes’ for each of his Christian children.

Dr Billy Graham used to conclude his evangelistic campaign messages with an altar call, as it is known, and then tell those who responded to go home and go to the church of their choice. Again, I used to have my doubts about that.

But today I believe that God himself calls us into a particular fellowship. We shouldn’t be hasty to leave or move on. After all, the grass, they say, is always going to seem greener in the next field. As an old grouch said to me recently: “I may have quarrels with my congregation in how they do things and details as to what they believe, even with my  minister and with my church, but I haven’t yet been given permission by my Lord, Christ, to leave. I guess I’m here to help them all overcome!”

Heavenly Father, thank you that you have provided spiritual homes for each of us, according to our needs with how best to help us grow in grace and knowledge. May we humbly submit to you, because you know us better than we know ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by John Stettaford

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