Monday, May 20, 2024

A church formula

Keeping commitments (to follow a recent theme) involves me preaching a couple of times in the next few weeks. Back at Bluntisham, still in awaiting a new minister, I am hooked into their current preaching series -‘Overlooked books of the Bible.’ My two dates coincide with John 2 and Jude. My records (not necessarily hyper-accurate you understand) suggest that I have never preached on John 2 though I have intensively focused on John 1.  Jude has only one outing.  That's in over 60 plus years of preaching. So, overlooked they certainly are!

I was reminded of the old green Baptist Hymn Book, published in 1954. My father as Baptist minister set his heart on making sure that none of the nearly 800 hymns were overlooked. As a teenager I got to know the hymn book – some golden oldies and new ones. Not new as in Kendricks, Gettys, Redmon, Hillsong etc...but new for the 50's.. In the tune book on the piano he began to write the dates against the days he chose particular hymns.  If he felt the tune was a barrier he’d find a another tune with the same metre. And some had to be introduced tune and all. He said he wanted to make sure we didn’t stay with the popular ones but sang ones we didn’t know. I guess some people might have been fed up. 'Look at the words carefully' he would say. ' We shouldn’t miss this one out.  It’s chosen because it says something that matters'.  

Now, with Scripture it’s different because big choices were taken as to which books were important for telling out God's story, but a similar principle applies. Look at the words carefully. We shouldn't miss this one out.  It's here because it says something important. So, what matters in John 2?   

Certainly something mattered to the apostle John when he wrote this.  He’s the elder and as he addresses this young church two issues really matter.  Which of course means they matter for any church, like ours. I think that together these two themes almost amount to a formula for a spiritually strong church.. X plus Y equals....

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