I had another busy week at work starting on February 4th, but it was a good week. It was also a busy week as I completed my preparations for the service I led on February 10th. On Wednesday it was great to see Cathy who was home again. It was lovely to relax longer in bed as she was coming shopping with me later, so I did not need to rush around to shop early. It was lovely to hear more of her wedding plans; it is so exciting the anticipation of the day next year. Sensibly she has decided to do the first marriage ceremony in Switzerland as she will have been working there up till a few days before. She will rest for a day and then Ken will join her and the ceremony will be on February 3rd in Switzerland. They will return here on the 5th to get ready for the official ceremony in Harrogate on February 7th, before setting off on honeymoon on February 8th.
I am really looking forward to next year especially as in July 2014 I will receive my state pension, so I shall be able to retire to spend more time with my beloved and my daughters in August or September next year. I will go in to do odd days of cover if needed but I look forward to having time to read, relax and go for walks and do more at church as well.
Having shopped and had lunch together with Cathy we all relaxed and enjoyed the delightful film, ‘Paulie’ who is a parrot who helps a small girl learn to speak and learns alongside her. Paulie learns to converse not just repeat what he hears; and after being separated from his beloved Marie goes through many adventures until he meets the young Russian man who changes his life for the better! I could watch it and watch it!! It is excellent!
A few students came on Friday and made progress as they learnt skills on the computer at the Acorn Centre.
I led the service on Sunday February 10th at Park Grove in Knaresborough. We sang a couple hymns which reminded me of the otherness of God and being overcome by his holiness, namely ‘My God how wonderful thou art’ and ‘Be still for the presence of the Lord. The theme was how the holiness and otherness of God confronts us mortals and makes us recognise our sinfulness when we are faced by God’s power and purity. We considered Isaiah’s conviction of sin when he was overwhelmed by the holiness and majesty of God being unable to praise God until the seraphim symbolically cleansed him with a burning coal brought from the altar. Then Isaiah felt able to stand in God’s presence and responded to God’s call to become a prophet; although the message he was given would be a challenge to give.
Paul who had persecuted the church met the risen Lord on the Damascus Road and the experience of seeing him in all his glory stopped him in his tracks, temporarily blinding him. His life like Isaiah had been changed completely by his encounter with Jesus on the road.
Luke showed how God reached people in their ordinary lives, when he described Simon cleaning his nets after a fruitless night of fishing. Jesus was teaching the people when the crowd was pressing on him so he asked Simon to push his boat out a little so he could preach from there. After Jesus finished his teaching he asked Simon to cast out his nets into deep water. Simon was initially reluctant as he knew he had fished all night and caught nothing but he did what Jesus asked and caught such a large shoal of fish that he had to call for assistance from his partners. Simon fell on his knees as he recognised the power of Jesus and was aware of his sinfulness and unworthiness. Jesus told him not to be afraid as he was calling him to follow him along with James and John to catch people. Neither Isaiah, nor Paul nor Simon was allowed to wallow in his unworthiness. By God’s grace and enablement Isaiah became a spokesman for God; Simon and Paul became great leaders of the fledgling church drawing many to come and follow the risen Lord. We too are called to follow Jesus even out into deep waters not in our own strength but empowered by God’s all sufficient grace. We concluded the service as we rededicated ourselves to follow him in the words of the hymn ‘Behold the Servant of the Lord.’