Speaking baldly

'Normal' (whatever that is for me)
‘Normal’ (whatever that is for me)

Yesterday was a Bank Holiday in England and was predicted to be the hottest day of the year so far (not difficult). Sally and I went out in the morning and I went equipped with a cap to stop the top of my head from getting sunburnt in the scorching heat.

For those who are not follicly challenged like me, the wearing of a hat is optional – a fashion decision. When God has decided to reveal the true beauty of the scalp he has given you by removing the hair that covers it you need to be prepared to cover it in order to protect it (and also prevent glare from the shine causing distress to others).

One of the things I have discovered from my increased cap-wearing is that you have to live with the consequences of deciding to wear a cap. Because there is no fringe on the forehead of the non-hirsute head any lines that are caused by wearing the cap will be very visible when you take it off. So, unless you don’t mind looking like you have a very big frown line, you have to decide to keep the cap on for long periods of time. That means that the tradition of taking your hat off when you go indoors is eschewed in favour of not having people point at your head laughing. Hats remain un-doffed to ladies. And when you continue to wear the hat when the sun has hidden itself you risk looking like someone who is trying (and failing) to make a fashion statement.

Yesterday was not a scorching hot day in the Colchester area. I would describe it as Wesley weather. (John Wesley describes the moment when he became a Christian as his heart being ‘strangely warmed’.) The cloud cover was sufficient that the sun played ‘hide and seek’ during much of the day and I reluctantly realised that the silliness of a man in his mid 40s (I know, I look much older) wearing a baseball cap (oriented correctly I should add) was greater than the temporary silliness of having a line across the front of my head. After a little while that line would disappear and I would look ‘normal’ again. (Yes, I know, I don’t look normal at the best of times, but you know what I mean!)

At the same time I was also aware that wearing a cap covered the surgery scar that I have in the back of my head. It is in the middle of what little hair I have left and is very obvious. I used to be very self-conscious about it but now I hardly give it a second thought. Yesterday the thought occurred to me briefly as I contemplated the line at the front that it would distract people from the scar at the back.

So many of the worries and concerns we have in life are like the lines on a bald man’s head. They are things that make a mark on us, but it is a temporary mark. It will fade. It will pass. In days gone by today’s news was wrapped around tomorrow’s fish and chips* and that was a metaphor for the transitory nature of many of life’s issues and problems. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells people not to worry so much because God’s got them in mind and worrying won’t change anything anyway. If God has us in mind we can relax a bit more.

Now I do know that not all of the things that worry and concern us are transitory. Some things make a lasting scar on us (like the one on the back of my head). But just because we are scarred does not mean we are defined by our scars. We carry them with us always. Yet they do fade a bit and can be reminders not only of the painful experience of life but also of God’s faithful presence with us even in the darkest of times.

I usually close my bloggages with ‘Be blessed, be a blessing’ but today (as well as that) I want to offer you a blessing that is based on 1 Kings 8:

The Lord, the righteous God, make his face to shine upon you, the Lord fill you with a joy greater than all this world can give, the Lord make you to sleep in peace and to dwell in safety; and the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you now and always.

*why do they use plain paper now instead of recycling newspaper?

be bald, be strong, for the Lord your God is with you…

Nick was wondering whether God had misheard his prayers for boldness

Yesterday I posted this picture on Facebook with the caption ‘Nick was wondering whether God had misheard his prayers for boldness’. The pun was intentional.

It was inspired (?) by the preparation I had been doing for Sunday evening, looking at Acts 4 and noticing that the Christians prayed for boldness. It was in the face of the first serious opposition the church had faced since Jesus had ascended into heaven.

Rather than praying that God would smite their opponents, or at least stop them from being so mean, or praying that God would help them to survive, they prayed for boldness to proclaim the message of Jesus. I love that!

So often when I have problems I pray that God will solve them for me. On the occasions when I have been criticised I have prayed for truth and grace. On the few occasions when people have opposed what I have been doing I have prayed for perseverance and that God would vindicate me (not so gracious, I know). But I rarely pray simply for boldness to proclaim the message of Jesus.

If I am called to be a free sample of Jesus, then my first prayer should always be about being able to do that as well as God’s Spirit enables me to. The rest of my life is secondary. This morning I was with a colleague taking an assembly at a school whose motto is ‘God first, other second, self last.’

Amen!

Be blessed, be a (bold) blessing.