the end

Today marks my last day ‘at work’ until almost the end of August. It also marks the last of my daily bloggages until then. This is not because I intend to stop reflecting but because I will not necessarily be within reach of a machine or internet connection with which to write the bloggerel that you consume. I intend to write a few bloggages as I go along (internet connections allowing), and also hope to write a few in advance and schedule them to appear at different points during my absence.

golf hole

So the pressure’s on to make this one a good one. Is it just me, or do you also feel an added pressure when you come to doing the last of something. I like to swing golf clubs in the general direction of a golf ball (in the hope that they will go in the direction I am aiming) and find that when I am at the driving range I want to make sure I hit the last ball well, or when I am playing the last hole on a course I want it to be a good one. If you are in show-business (amateur or professional) do you try to ensure that your last performance in a run is the best? Maybe at work you try to make sure that you finish well at the end of each day or at the end of a week.

I think it is because the last thing we do stays with us for a while and we want to have a feeling of satisfaction and contentment that comes from having finished well. I can happily forget a lot of sliced golf shots if I have hit the last shot well or played the last hole well.

Finishing well is important for all of us, not just in our daily life but in all that we do. This is one reason why it is such a privilege and blessing to lead and take part in funeral services and thanksgiving services. In those difficult times we have the opportunity to remember, to give thanks and to be uplifted by a good finish to a person’s life. When I was training to be a Minister I was terrified about the idea of taking a funeral. It seemed so morbid and sad. It seemed such a gloomy thing to have to do. But now, having conducted quite a few services, I find it a real blessing to be involved in them because they provide a good finish to someone’s life.

It’s even more of a blessing and encouragement if that person was a follower of Jesus because we know that death is followed by resurrection.

So what will you do well today? How are you finishing?

Be blessed, be a blessing.

In my first church the Senior Minister and I were meeting together when our caretaker, a formidable lady, came in to see us. It was the start of the year and she came in to ask for the dates of all the weddings and funerals for the coming year.

“Certainly Betty,” said David, opening his diary, “When would you like us to book you in for your funeral?”

the certainty principle

At the moment I am contemplating Sunday evening’s sermon on the first half of Acts 4.

I am not certain this shirt was a good idea
I am not certain this shirt was a good idea

One of the things that strikes me as amazing is that when the authorities had the apostles in front of them they did not attempt to argue about or disprove Jesus’ resurrection. It seems they knew that the evidence was irrefutable.

So why, if the evidence was irrefutable, didn’t they believe it? One of the reasons is that it did not fit into their theological framework. We know that many of them were Sadducees, who did not believe in resurrection. Because they did not believe in resurrection it could not have happened, even though the evidence all pointed in that direction.

Do we ever find ourselves in the same position – denying what God is doing because it does not fit with our existing theological framework? ‘Of course not’ is my hasty response. But if I take the time to consider prayerfully I need to be less certain.

Only a few centuries ago many Christians were certain that slavery was God’s will. Only a few decades ago many Christians were certain that women should not be ordained. What other ‘certainties’ does God need to address in us?

The certainty I live my life upon is Jesus’ death and resurrection. The further I move away from that central truth, from his teaching and life, the more I end up thinking about things from my own perspective rather than his and the less certain I should be.

Be blessed, be a blessing