I am writing this 2 days before Rachel and I are married. I want to begin by saying, on behalf of Rachel and myself, a huge thank you for all the love and support we have felt from our Wesley family as the day has approached. It is an amazing privilege to feel part of a family of faith and prayer. One of the moments that I am looking forward to on Saturday 18th June is listening once again to the reading of 1 Corinthians 13. When the Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Corinth he was writing to a bunch of people who were trying to outdo each other in the manifestation of spiritual gifts…..holy one-upmanship! So he writes to remind them of the supremacy of love and so we are bequeathed these amazing words that have become so familiar.
Those of you who have the dubious honour of listening to me preach are probably fed up with hearing me refer to the danger of over familiarisation with the great texts of our faith. We have heard them so often that they have long since lost their impact. Interestingly, we also, I think, have a problem with the strangeness of Scripture. There may well be passages that we know almost off by heart but there is much of Scripture where we rarely venture and when we do it appears to be anachronistic and impenetrable. If you ever feel like this, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Together we can explore and learn and unlock the beauty, truth and relevance of all of God’s word.
One of our great Christian texts is Psalm 23 which, although written many, many years ago still speaks beautifully to our lives today. It tells of life’s happy, joyful moments in beautiful pictorial expressions – ‘green pastures’ and ‘still waters’, but then also reminds us that often life is tough and a mess – ‘even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death’. But at its heart this is a poem of faith as the poet expresses, ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life’. Praise God, he is the one who makes himself known to us and is yet still clothed in mystery, and the one who journeys with us through sorrows and joys, making every moment of our lives to be filled with meaning.
Grace and Peace