I came across a notebook of some thoughts from 2 or 3 years back. It interested me that its opening pencil written pages chime with what I think I am trying to do in these blogs, although these blogs were never even on the horizon of my thinking at the time. Maybe seeds were being planted for a new form of ministry. Reading what I wrote back then clarified things for me and helped me to understand the chapter in my life I have now reached. As an Evangelical I think a lot about salvation through the cross of Christ. As a Charismatic I think of how the Kingdom of God might break into a life or a situation through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. However, without abandoning either of these theological camps, I do feel there was something lacking in how I carried their truths. I am not sure there was enough place in my thinking for “Humanness”. On page 3 of the said notebook I found I had written this phrase: “The unearthing of our belovedness is the birth of truest humanness.”
I think that perhaps for a couple of blogs I will retrace my own thoughts and how I got to that thought on page 3, unless I sense the Wind blowing in another direction. It began with the notebook itself. It was a gift from my daughter Sarah. I liked everything about it; its colour, the spacing of its lines; the off white-pages; it’s unusual size; its newness; its quality feel. Here is the interesting thing: my delight and appreciation of a notebook seemed to release a whole stream of thought about God. I reached for my favourite pencil and started to write and the thoughts continued to flow and flow. I sensed the Holy Spirit. I sensed His joy in what was happening.
I don’t know quite how to put this accurately, but I know the thoughts I was thinking had their source in the Word of God (I was reading John 4 at the time) and the help of the Holy Spirit. However I am 100% convinced of this too: these thoughts would not have flowed as easily if I had not been holding my favourite pencil and writing in my lovely new notebook whose empty pages I was beginning to write on with trembling excitement. It was as though the Holy Spirit was sharing in my delight at such things. It actually seemed as though He was enjoying my delight in my new notebook. I wrote this: “Perhaps my galloping thoughts are being carried along by the wind of God’s laughing delight in what I am finding delight in. The joy I feel, feels way our of proportion to the pencil and notebook. It is the joy of The God of Life being with a human being enjoying being a human being with particular quirks and eccentricities. He seems to be here with me, rejoicing in such simple delights which were they shared or expressed with another could lead to warm laughter or cynical ridicule, depending on the heart of the listener or observer.”
I hope that as I share my quirks and eccentricities with you they might be met my your warm laughter. If they make you cynical towards me, then a suggestion: don’t read my blog any more.
This is a blog for those who acknowledge human sinfulness, human fragility, human capabilities into which the Living God of mercy comes, who rejoices in saving human beings and revealing to them their belovedness. It is about a God who laughs with warmth at the fact that a new notebook helps a man and a minister think thoughts about God with a greater flow of Holy Spirit joy and freedom than would happen with a different pencil and different paper.
A notebook, a pencil… (an electric bike)… these open new vistas for me. They are life giving. Do you even know what is life giving for you? Are you in touch at all with the quirks and eccentricities that God put in you when He made you and which He delights in even if others might find them a bit odd?
Someone asked me a very helpful question on Monday of this week: helping me think towards my official retirement date, which is coming along on the 1st. September, they asked me what sort of things I would like to do come September. I confess that question caused a seismic shift in my thinking which I have not yet fully processed. Up until that wise question was asked, my only thoughts had been what I “should” or “ought” to do or “might be able to do” come that date. What I might “like” to do was not really in my thinking: I had to honestly say that I could not answer their question because I had not thought in these terms. Sad! It is starting to strike me though, that I might get to know God more deeply by finding His joyful presence and warm laughter in me being my created and redeemed me and doing things I like doing, “against which there is no law”… that nobody but Him may quite get.
Friend have you lost touch with the “you” God made and redeemed you to be? Is life all “oughts’”and “shoulds”? You may even be in full time paid ministry and read this blog; is there space in your week for doing what you ‘’like” doing, the things that would be true re-creation, because the God who created you for His good pleasure waits for you there… and He loves you and even likes you?
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Definitely warm laughter ….
I think God gave me a slightly “wicked” sense of humour….. For years I’ve tried to suppress it in my charismatic circles. I laugh at Kevin Bridges, Peter Kay etc. This week I went to the cinema with a friend to see Absolutely Fabulous. We roared, two old missionaries ( formerly flower power girls) relating totally to Patsy and Edina. I think our Father was laughing too……