On Active Service – Christian Commitment

What is commitment?

One of the definitions of this word in my dictionary says that ‘a commitment is an engagement or duty that restricts freedom of action’

What about Christian commitment?
Aren’t we told, that to be a Christian is to be truly free?

Now join the army Mr Jones and you will find your freedom of action restricted, you will have to follow orders.

Recently like heard a sermon about Christian baptism and the passage in Romans chapter 6, where we are taught that all of us, no exceptions who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death.

“Imagine, ” the speaker said, “you are a bystander watching a squad of a a Roman soldiers marching a man through the streets, a man carrying a cross, condemned to death by crucifixion. You know, don’t you what the outcome of that committal is going to be… Well then when it comes to ourself, do we realise that we are called to same level of commitment as the man carrying the cross.”

Let’s think awhile, The Lord Jesus could have dodged his death on the cross, he could have walked
away from it any time, up until that fateful moment in Gethsemane when he accepted the cup poured to for him (and for us).

We pray, don’t we,

‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore.’

Jesus showed us His Grace, by his obedience to the Father’s will, the Father showed us His Love by sending His Son to die for us, we share in the fellowship of rich love between them both by our sharing love amongst ourselves.

Paul, rich in grace himself, writes to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:3), “join with me in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”

A few days ago I was given a small gift (see picture) a replica edition of An Active Service John’s Gospel, produced by the Scripture Gift Mission during the First World War. Hundreds of thousands of these tiny books were issued to soldiers in training camps,and in tea huts, some given to the wounded by nurses, some handed out by chaplains. Designed to fit in the front pocket of a uniform they had rounded corners that wouldn’t crease and at the back a decision form. The decision form page, came to be there at the request of Chaplains. Who hoped that those who were invited to sign it would draw comfort from their gesture of commitment when facing their fears of death. We are told that very many did do this, and found comfort and peace .. we are told also that when a soldier died his possessions were returned to his family who sometimes discovered a signed decision page from a man who had, never shown any interest at all in the faith before and they too were comforted. Often the signed form in the little book was the only identification found on a body.

I have been moved by this tiny Gospel; it reminds me that I too have committed to Active Service – I pray for strength, courage and the Grace of The Lord Jesus, to be a good soldier of Christ Jesus, true to by baptism, my calling and commitment.

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A Giant Felled

Finally, fateful decision, made the Buddleia has been reduced to two heaps of branches and several large bags of green foliage; this was a giant of Buddleia kind, home to, possibly, several millions of butterfly, and moth caterpillars: I had known it since it was a twig, the decision was painful but necessary, during rainstorms a year it two back, it’s roots had slipped in the soft earth and it no longer grew upright but diagonally, a 14ft giant blocking the path and effectively cutting off the rest of the garden.

It took 3 of us 4 hours to commit this crime. I did feel a criminal the destroyer of worlds, but I notice my friends the Robins. Thrushes and Tits seem to have taken its passing remarkably well and I now have a sizeable piece of ground to plant again, this time with smaller plants. But all the same I miss it…

I have been musing that some church fellowships have their giants, like my beautiful Buddleia, we have known them since we or they were twigs: they have been so good, so great, how would we do or manage without them if suddenly, they aren’t with us anymore.

Might we not become aware of those smaller church members, we hardly noticed before, and find that they are just as kind, just as attractive. Because you know, I think the Heavenly Gardener hasn’t invested all his sweetness, grace and gifts in one or even a few of us,

But to each of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it”(Ephesians 4 v7)

Now a photo of 2 heaps of wood is hardly an encouraging sight, so I decided to use this one, the bees just love the Lupins and the birds like to feast on the seeds, to remind myself that The Lord’s sweetness is shared out .. Some to the small as well to the great.

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Such a Person

I count myself very fortunate that I do know one or two such persons. TheWannabeSaint is a good site to follow?😃

TheWannabeSaint.com

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“Someone who takes pity and lends, who is disposed to be compassionate, quick to render assistance, who believes that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving, who easily forgives but is not easily angered, who will never seek to be avenged, and will in all things take thought for his neighbor’s needs as if they were his own.

Such a person is overflowing with affectionate kindness, making himself all things to all men yet pricing his deeds like something discarded in order to be ever and everywhere ready to supply to others what they need, in a word, so dead to himself that he lives only for others.”

-Bernard of Clairvaux

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Pentecost Pearl Seekers

Lord, we wait.
Our prayer a breath.

Wait like a bride,
for the kiss of the bridegroom;
Wait like a ship in harbour
for the tide;
Wait like Eagle on mountain top,
Until heated by the Sun, thermal currents rise,
Then plunging into air she flies-
On wings of
perfect trust.

Lord with,
The kiss of your breath,
Quicken our heartbeat,
Ready us to sail with the tide
On impulse of your love,
Warm us until wings beating as one,
We trust ourself to the Spirit’s power,
And to You in unity

Lord you call,
“Come fly;
Come take ship with me;
Come take my hand.
Let us go together,
seeking Pentecost Pearls.
A ship was meant to sail.
An Eagle to fly.
Bride to dance with Bridegroom-
Let us sail with the tide,
with Tidings of Love”

“Amen,” says the Bride.
” My love is yours.
We sail with the tide.”

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The Change Is In The Waiting

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Well it did rain; and not a little God was generous. Perhaps he will be equally generous now with sunshine, at any rate today has dawned a blue, bright day with Rhododendrons, Columbines, Lupins and Poppies fluttering on a gentle breeze. Ascension Day is past and the fiery splendour of Pentecost to come.

Just at the present time I feel that I have come to a kind of waiting time myself; not sure why this is so, it is simply a puzzling intuition. Perhaps it may be I am due a change in my life, a break perhaps from Multi Tasking, at the same time I have a quiet assurance that everything-will-be-as-it-should-be. I leave all that in God’s hands, glad that the rain is gone, I look forward to summer sunshine, and spending time hovering like a bee amongst the sweet scented flowers sipping up all the nectar I can find.

After the dreadful, bloody and agonising death of Jesus he kept his word and the disciples saw him again, not just once, but many times he came to them in those days leading up to his Ascension and he didn’t appear to ones and twos. Five hundred brothers and sisters are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15. V6. I am certain that The Lord wanted these loved ones to KNOW Beyond all doubt that all-was-well, and would-be-well for them. They probably began to settle comfortably with Jesus around with them in this new way before Ascension Day. After all now his enemies could no longer touch him, it must have seemed to them that now the Kingdom could come. In fact they asked him this very question.

“Lord are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1 v6)

But The Lord left them, but not in the anguish and fear of Good Friday but looking forward to the promise of power and blessing to come. He left them to wait. On the Day of Pentecost all would change again.

Outwardly the disciples may not have changed much up to now, but inwardly great change had already occurred since the fateful night of their Masters death. In the Garden if Gethsemane he had pleaded with them to wait, to watch, to pray and they had fallen asleep overwhelmed by sorrow, at his crucifixion they scattered, all going different ways,now on their return to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olive we are told that the brothers and sisters were constantly in prayer, together waiting (Acts 1v14).

From scattered to unified.
From sleeping to watching and prayer.

Waiting and change,

Sometimes the change is in the waiting.

Spring blossoms needs to fall. Fruit needs to set and ripen, and here is another thought waiting is best done with empty hands.

May God fill your hands and mine with his most gracious blessing!