On the feast of St. Nicholas [in 1273] Thomas Aquinas was celebrating Mass when he received a revelation that so affected him that he wrote and dictated no more, leaving his great work the Summa Theologiae unfinished. To Brother Reginald’s (his secretary and friend) expostulations he replied, “The end of my labors has come. All that I have written appears to be as so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me.” When later asked by Reginald to return to writing, Aquinas said, “I can write no more. I have seen things that make my writings like straw.”
For similar reasons I threw decades of sermons out. I only keep the most recent few now to check up whether I am repeating illustrations, which probably means I will do so every few months! Poor Morag who dutifully listens to that! More of Christ appears on the horizon of my thinking and experience as I read the Bible and experience Immanuel being true to that name. It’s not there was no worth in former sermons: they were as much as I understood intellectually, spiritually and experientially at the time: I think they honoured God and helped people. There are, however, worlds more to understand and experience of what it means to believe in the one true God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thank God for eternity.
There is no one who can claim to be an expert on Christ with their notes on him and his works complete, open to no alteration.
Even after years of knowing Christ, serving Christ, Paul said he wanted to know him. Wonderful!
I think I will come to the end of my days here (and if I have my way, which of course may not be the best thing for anyone including me, that is decades away) feeling that I am still preaching like a fumbling but enthusiastic child who has just learned to speak and to understand. I hope it will never be otherwise. If I pretend to be other than a child how can God be present to be glorified as my Father, or Jesus be admired as the first born Son, my elder brother for whom my admiration and pride knows no bounds? If I have arrived, how can the Spirit find space to be my helper?
It suits me now, in days of lesser health, to be contributing to Kingdom happenings and ministries from where I have reached rather than leading a work or a vision as once was my responsibility. I don’t have to know the bigger picture. That type of leadership mantle in a congregation or wider afield is no longer mine. I have another mantle placed upon me now, that has been a bit sidelined in the past. Contributing something from the heart of God I can do, in small way and part, with this proven belief: little is much when God is in it.
Let’s press on to know the Lord in 2022!