We got back from holiday yesterday (Sunday) at 3.30pm. It had been a 6 hour drive. It always appears to be a 6 hour drive from North Wales. However fast I go, whatever the traffic is like, whatever the prevailing wind conditions, it takes 6 hours. 6 hot hours. Whilst others were improving their tans, we were enjoying the antique air conditioning system of our van; open the window for more air.
I knew that I could go to church at 6:30pm. I knew that I should go to church at 6:30pm. But I didn't really want to. As always (in my case) when I don't want to do something that I think that I really should, what I need to find is a good set of excuses that justify my actions. Fortunately for me the drive, coupled with the fact that we were returning to a house that had been burgled (more on that tomorrow), meant that I had all the "reasons" that I needed not to go. My conscience was cleansed.
That was until my 17 year old lad asked the very simple question, "Who's coming to church?"
Silence. Finally I mumbled something about needing to sort things out (which I had no intention of doing! My plan was to sit down a watch a film). He said, "Well I'm going."
There was no hint of accusation in his statement. Not even a whiff of self-righteousness. Which made it worse. I said that I'd come too. On the way there he told us (his sister had decided to come as well) that he didn't feel right if he didn't go to church on a Sunday. His pastor father has not been blessed with the same desire to be with God's people. He's right. I'm wrong.
The apostle Peter writes that Christians should... "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation..." (1 Peter 2:2).
And how glad I am that my son craves spiritual milk!
The service was led well. We heard and saw something of the mission hospital that we support in Madagascar. But most wonderfully Luke 22:66-23:25 was preached in a way that moved me to tears and the congregation to sit silently for some minutes after the service had ended. The passage deals with the trial of Jesus. The one who suffers silently at the hands of the forces of darkness, so that he can die in our place. An outrageous exchange that we don't deserve. I have been freed and Jesus has been surrendered to crucifixion. You can watch it here>
So if yesterday you could have been at church at 6:30pm - whether you wanted to be there or not - you missed a wonderful blessing.