Friday, 2 March 2007

A Few Snippets

Some months ago, when reading in the Thessalonian epistles, I was struck by the frequency of Paul’s repeated close conjunction of faith & love. The relevant references are 1 Thess.1:3, “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labour of love.” 1 Thess. 3:6 “Timothy brought the good news of your faith and love.” 1 Thess.5:8 “Put on the breastplate of faith & love.” 2 Thess 1:3, “Your faith is growing abundantly and the love of every one of you for each other is increasing.” This discovery sent me looking for other similar Scriptures and I found over 20 other examples in the Pauline epistles of that same conjoining of faith & love. Apart from that, the same link is made by the Lord Jesus again and again and the Apostle John says, “This is His commandment that we should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He commanded us.

Coming from a staunchly evangelical background I was thoroughly grounded in teaching on faith, but there was a strange lack of emphasis on its twin, love. Now in advancing years I am seeing more and more how the two go inextricably together, and in our present circumstances these two bedrock spiritualities are becoming more and more precious. When we get to the end of this earthly pilgrimage may it be our testimony that we have kept the faith and walked in love.

I have been reading Wendell Berry’s novel, “Jayber Crow” which follows Jayber’s spiritual pilgrimage from childhood to old age, as well as being full of rich observations of characters and relationships in a rural community in Kentucky. Being a country boy myself, his writing stirred up many memories for me enriched by his evident love for the amazing diversity and beauty of nature. But I want to quote for you this reflection of Jayber in his latter years, “As I have read the gospels over the years the belief has grown in me that Christ did not come to found an organised religion, but came instead to found an unorganised one. He seems to have come to carry religion out of the temples into the fields and sheep pastures, onto the roadsides and banks of rivers, into the houses of publicans and sinners, into the town and the wilderness, toward the membership of all that is here. Well, you can read and see what you think.” Amen Jayber!!

Lastly, on March 9th. I had an e-mail from Jim & June from the north of England with a fascinating story of their search for God’s way of Church. Regrettably I accidentally deleted the e-mail before I had time to reply. If your are reading this blog, Jim & June can you please resend your message so that I my reply.