A Passion for Life – Day 1

Church. Twice. It was Sunday after all. But it was a special Sunday. We launched our local A Passion for Life week. With other local churches we’ve put together a series of events to help people connect with Easter.We’re busting a gut for the gospel this week. We try and do that most weeks. But we’re really killing ourselves this week!

Special events. Baptism double header in the morning. Neither cried. Both sides of the family seemed content. It all passed off without incident. Get in! And it was Mother’s Day and we couldn’t let that go unnoticed. Apparently there’s a countrywide shortage of Daffodils. Something to do with the dodgy weather. But our ever resourcesful children’s worker tracked down sufficient bunches for all the women in all age church. In the evening we had a testimony from the drug-dealing, firearm-smuggling Gambian who is now one of our mission partners. Noble did a great job as he explained how God had turned his life around during his time in an American prison and how he was now using that life for the good of the gospel amongst Gambian students. It’s a privilege to be able to pray for him and Lydia, their family and their work.

Guests. Never enough! But yesterday was the day for families. But there were a few newcomers and visitors in the evening, which was encouraging. A few regulars were away, which wasn’t! Perhaps they’re steeling themselves for this mammoth week ahead of us. And we had had a full day at The God Confusion.

Talks. Pete on Luke 15 and the parable of the lost son, or as he pointed out it’s the parable of the two lost sons and the doubly compassionate Father. I’m more older son than younger son. I used to be the younger son. And then I became a Christian. And then I became self righteous! Me in the evening on Zacchaeus. I’ve never preached on that passage before. That was surprising. It’s a great story and I hope I did it justice. I’m never quite sure how my sermons are received. We’re not the most demonstrative congregation in Christendom. You could have heard tumbleweed blowing past and the distant clanging of an old bell during the question time. And so, every now and again, when someone absent mindedly leaves their sermon notes lying on the floor I sneak a peek. After all, they were on their way to the bin. It’s like unmediated unplugged feedback and it’s brutal in its honesty! Rather encouragingly there weren’t too many doodles. Just a small one of ‘Alice the camel who had one hump’. A reference to Jesus’ deliberately udicrous image in Luke 18:25 to show how impossibly difficult it is for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God. But otherwsie the scribblings were all passage related and the shape of the sermon was faithfully represented. But there in the middle was a song, learnt in childhood no doubt, saying simply

Zacchaeus was a very little man, a very little man was he.

He climbed up into a sycamore tree, for he wanted the Lord to see.

And when the Lord came past that way, he looked up into the tree

And said ‘Zaccaheus, you come down for I’m coming to your house for tea’.

I guess I must have been dull for the few moments that it took to write that bit! I know whose notes they are. Their identity shall remain a secret. But if she would like them back, I have them at home! Or perhaps you could pick them up when you babysit on Thursday night!

A Passion for Life. We’re gearing up. It all happens this week. We don’t want to leave anything out on the pitch and so we’re going for broke. We’ve now entered the calm before the storm. First event; the Women’s International Evening of Cuisine. I love that title. There’s something Austin Powers’ about it.

9 thoughts on “A Passion for Life – Day 1

  1. Lauri March 15, 2010 / 5:32 pm

    Perks I want to hear what you had to say on this passage. It’s one of the most subversive passages in the NT one of my favourite AND the poem you found makes that so clear. Jesus comes up to the man who is small, who has been made fun of because he is small, and because he is a tax collector… and he asks him (and fulfils the desire of his heart in doing so), to spend time with the creator of the universe. Jesus recognizes Zacchaeus, imbuing him for that moment with utter dignity (and possibly terrifying him in the process 😉 and calling him to be the person he really is, rather than the person he has been. Fantastic.

    • theurbanpastor March 15, 2010 / 6:02 pm

      then you should have come along!
      it’ll be light years before it’s up on the web site but if you hassle John you might just get an advance copy of the recording!
      there are two searches going on in that tale, aren’t there – Z searches for Jesus but all along the Son of Man is searching after the sinner – I didn’t make much of that last night but I found it hugely encouarging to reflect on

  2. Pete Matthew March 15, 2010 / 5:55 pm

    And can we finally agree that the sporting analogy is to leave everything on the pitch. Not the other way round as you said last night and again here – you’ve copied Coekins msitake.

    Leave it all on the pitch – let’s be exhausted in the changing room of Monday morning the 22nd March – with baqrely the energy to get on the tube to work! Bring it on!!!!

    • theurbanpastor March 15, 2010 / 6:02 pm

      ok, i think I get it now – I wish I’d played rugby in that way – who knows, I might have made something of myself!!

  3. cakeandbiscuits March 15, 2010 / 9:35 pm

    I’m sorry i was one of the regulars who missed the service last night – it sounded brilliant… but my plane from Beijing was delayed by 4 hours due to snow!

    • theurbanpastor March 16, 2010 / 9:35 am

      apology appreciated but unnecessary!
      that’s a gilt edge reason to be absent from church – no hint of flakiness there! I know you;re a woman who’d scale tall buildings and hike up big mountains to get to church – I’ve never doubted it! But flying is probably just beyond even your great abilities!!!

  4. James S March 18, 2010 / 2:31 pm

    Presumably Noble is a FORMER ‘drug-dealing, firearm-smuggling Gambian’? Although clearly still a Gambian.

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