June 10th – In a Jam

I was booked to preach at a church about fifty miles from home. My wife and I left in the car in plenty of time (probably too much time because she knows that, having got up and away early we will find ourselves at a church long before its doors are open). It was a glorious sunny day, and it was motor way almost all the way, then suddenly on the Winchester by-pass all traffic seized up. Ahead were miles of cars bumper to bumper, barely moving. We didn’t know but miles ahead of us they were taking down a bridge, and therefore directing all traffic off the motor way and diverting it through choked narrow lanes and streets to rejoin the motor way some miles further south. “I needn’t have come this way” I complained, “I could have gone via Romsey. Oh if only I had a car phone. We’ll be here for ever … and I’m due to begin the service in less than an hour!”. My wife spoke “There’s nothing you can do about it, so take it easy. They’ll just have to manage at the church without you”. So we put on some music and inched along for over a full hour, more or less relaxed (I guess you know what I mean), much finger drumming!
We eventually arrived at the church 35 minutes late. Two of the leaders knew why we were delayed (the news had been on local radio), and they took the service splendidly, so I just walked in, in time to take the sermon and the communion part of the service. No one was one scrap the poorer for my not being there! It was merely my arrogance, thinking I was necessary to them. In fact I’m now tempted to think that many church services might be a lot better if the clergy turned up over half an hour late, or even not at all!
It was Emerson who once came out of an evening meeting all distraught, hot and bothered, and said “The stars looked down and said to me ‘why so hot little man?’”.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3-4
That Psalm marvels not at our insignificance but at our privileged place in God’s universe. Things go wrong when we forget who is in charge of it.

A Prayer:
Almighty Father, whose praise the heavens are telling and whose glory may be sung by joyous children, forbid that we, who have been made stewards of this planet, use or abuse our privileges and believe ourselves to be the masters, rather than the servants. In the name of Him who became the slave of all, even Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Now read Hebrews Chapters 1 and 2.

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