Monday, February 24, 2020

Downsizing books - some adventures on the way

I am in the throes of the (very) painful experience of saying goodbye to my library - or most of it.  How successful I will be in finding homes for the many hundred volumes is difficult to judge, but conversations about the task have led to interesting consequences.  For example, I mentioned this to a Methodist friend. His ears pricked up on hearing that I have many (many) volumes of W.E. Sangster's sermons and other books, (Sangster was a very influential Methodist preacher). He said: 'You haven't by any chance got his pamphlet: A Spiritual Check-Up?  That booklet meant so much to me in my early Christian life.  I would love to see it again'.

Well, I have found it and I shall tell him. However, it also made impact on me as a teenager.  Like a medical check-up Sangster asks readers to go through the pages slowly for a spiritual check-up. He warns: If you are too busy for this, you are too busy.  It needs at least two hours.  And, as I turn the pages I remember again the shock of its challenges.

Some are more obvious. For example, some questions on the first page titled: IN THE WORLD
       Do I speak the truth?  Am I a person of the strictest honesty?  Do I fake my income tax returns?         Do I swear? In my relations with the other sex am I pure in deed, word, thought?
It becomes more searching as the check-ups continue: WHERE I WORK:
       Is Christ more loved or, at least, more respected at my business place because of the way I live.?         Are some people outside the church because I am inside? If I have concealed my discipleship, is         it because I am afraid that my life would not sustain my profession? I am ashamed of Christ? or        just a coward? 
And especially IN THE HOME
      Do those who know me best, believe in me most?  Am I thoughtful for those who are serving me          every day?  Do I criticize the Church and other Christians in front of others?  In the morning              half- awake, and in the evening over-tired, am I still a Christian, courteous, grateful, 
      good-humoured?    Do I think of the home as mine or God's? 

Each section, continuing with  At the altar, With fellow-workers for Christ, the Fruit of the Spirit, the Passing Years, Serving Others, At the Cross, closes with a prayer of confession and help.  Those prayers make all the difference - you'd just be left a guilt-ridden wreck without God's daily help and forgiveness.  And there's just a couple of other things I have been reminded of - that need another post.

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