The long heat wave which we’ve been enjoying this summer has ended … at least for now … with some heavy downpours. For the many gardeners among you, this is no doubt welcome relief for your parched plants and lawns.
But the downpours are also a great opportunity for revealing things which are not quite right around the house. In my case, I’ve just spotted gaping holes in some of the gutters which need urgent attention before winter sets in.
This has made me reflect and draw parallels with our spiritual lives. You can think everything is ticking along nicely, indeed there is nothing happening to make you think otherwise, and then suddenly something occurs to knock you spiritually off kilter, and your spiritual foundations and guttering are overwhelmed as not enough care has been taken of them.
As we enter the latter part of summer, this is an excellent time to take stock of our spiritual lives, and do something about it in a measured way, before something hits us as we get into the busyness of the new term and when it is then harder to deal with. And this applies both individually, and to us as a wider church family.
It’s important though that we do what the phrase ‘take stock’ says, and focus on both the good and not so good things in our lives.
In Chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of Revelation, there are what are known as the ‘The 7 Letters’ to 7 churches in Asia Minor. In each letter, the Apostle John provides what we would term today a spiritual status report on each church community. He loves them and wants them to thrive. He highlights where they are excelling, but then hones in on their weak areas. The aim is both to encourage and build them up, but also alert them to the need to change while they have good time to do so.
The same is true for us. That means taking time and asking the Lord to speak to us about what we need to continue doing and where we need to change. As John writes at the end of each of the letters, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches”. And let’s all do it while we have the time and space, and not wait till we’re overwhelmed by overflowing spiritual gutters!
With love – Terence (Curate)