In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk – better yet, run! – on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you to sitting around on your hands.
Eph 4:1 (Message)
Help us Lord God to stay focused on the path you have set us and not to be lacking or led astray.
We welcome our preacher this morning who is Mr Nigel Burns
After service tea hosts Bob and Evelyn
Our thanks for the flowers which are given by Evelyn Gilston in memory of Bob’s Mum and Dad Phil and Lily
Organist: Lydia Edwards
Sunday 9th August
11.00am Rev John Wiggall (Communion)
Vestry Stewards – Elizabeth and Avril
Door Steward – Chris
Tea Hosts – Chris and Joan
Mon 3rd Every Day with Jesus Bible Study in Lounge 10.30am
Tue 4th Ruabon Coffee Morning at Llangollen 10.00am – noon
Wed 5th Ephesians Bible Study V at Ruabon 7.00pm
Sat 8th Garden Day at Rhosnesni 10.00am – 2.00pm
Please pray for the following:
All those who care for those in need.
We thank God for answered prayer and ask that he helps us to understand that all things do work together for good.
There were two events at that time which turned me round -away from a living death in a psychiatric ward with ECT or a lobotomy, or a real death in a badly judged half-hearted suicide attempt – and the Quaker meeting was the first.
I came away [from a meeting with his friend] feeling grey inside and the weather was grey outside. On the way home the rain came down in buckets and I sheltered in a doorway. The door opened – a lady (Miss Joachim, I learnt later) opened the door and beckoned me in to a quiet Quaker meeting for farmers, who testified soberly and convincingly. And then I stepped in and helplessly testified Jewish style from the depths of my tormented being. They didn’t sit up, and I didn’t care if they did or didn’t because I was beyond exhibitionism. I was in a Dostoevskian nightmare, known to many in a severe depression. I asked a deity in whom I didn’t believe to make some sense of my misery.
The Quaker farmers must have thought this great stuff, because I received an approving accolade at the end and Miss Joachim asked me to tea.
But what was more important, the deity, in whom I didn’t believe and I couldn’t name, granted my prayer and a message did get through to me from outside me or perhaps it welled up from deep inside me. The first explanation felt more right. The message was muddling yet clear. I should turn my miseries upside-down, invert them and then look at them in another light, a heavenly light.
I started doing that during my explosive testimony and continued to do so silently. I surprised myself by thanking that God I didn’t believe in for all my problems! Without them I would be a self-satisfied prig or a sharp suburban solicitor. With them I could learn mercy and self-honesty and what it was like to be at the other end of the stick. There was no other way I could ever come to such wisdom. My problems might be in fact a grace of God if he existed and not his punishment. This made me feel very chosen and very important. One of the nice things about Christianity was that it made much of an individual and not just another member of a collective. It was a private one-to-one relationship between me and Whomsoever Whatsoever – let’s call him WW or Fred or Smokey the holy ghost.
A shift took place inside of me. I recovered the pleasure of giving. After the service was over I started giving away things, mostly my own things but some of Robin’s too. The ‘Jesus thing’ had got to me, I decided, and had turned me inside-out, and topsy-turvy. What I was experiencing was a rebirth of my soul, which I had lost or dismissed in London’s East End at the age of five. I was no longer a mere mind – I could now proceed from a feeling centre. It is true it was a bit atrophied but new life was pumping into it. Robin approved when I told him about it though he was rightly apprehensive about my wild dispersal of my possessions and his too, to whoever asked, and I surprised fellow students who didn’t approve because it wasn’t just topsy-turvy, it was also over the top.
But I left that meeting light and souffle-ish giving away even my precious velvet tie to a surprised acquaintance, not knowing what had hit me.
This revealed itself not in a church but a cake shop. I was queuing up for my slice of Fuller’s Walnut Cake, idly listening to the background music. The words of the song actually went `Falling in love with love is only make believe’ but I heard it as ‘Falling in love with Love isn’t just make believe’ – which is quite the opposite. I had fallen in love with Love and it was reprogramming me. If you think that this is Christianity, well, I was in, but if you think Christianity is attachment to creeds and surplices and scriptures and institutions, then I wasn’t – I remained an outsider.
But what I did get was that I could fall in love with Love as I’ve said and that love could have a human face, and the kernel of it all was generosity.
Something else did happen at the Quaker meeting. I started to speak to an imaginary figure, which was no big deal as I’d been inhabiting a fantasy world for years, both mystical and masturbatory. But there was a difference. In this new fantasy world the Jesus (or WW or Fred) figure spoke back, but his answers and concerns weren’t the ones I expected.
He popped up at the Quaker meeting but at first I didn’t take him seriously. Droopy chestnut-haired men with constipated looks are not my line at any level. In my imagination he didn’t stay that way for very long. But however he looked and whatever he was, he became the human face of my religious life. He was the Virgil or the Beatrice to my Dante. He showed me heaven, and heaven was here within me (and in you too) and always had been.
Rabbi Lional Blue Autobiograpphy