Monday, May 21, 2012

A few handbreadths

Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
    and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!
(Psalm 39:5)

Preached at Ebenezer, West Lavington morning and evening on John 21:15-19 and Ephesians 1:3-6 respectively. When preaching in the morning I spied some movement in the chapel porch through a gap between the internal doors. I had a member of the congregation investigate. There was a man hanging around in the porch so we invited him in and I carried on preaching. Chatting to him after the service it turned out that he was a 'man of the road' on his way to Devizes. Unusually for such gentlemen, this chap didn't ask for money. He said he provides for himself by cleaning windows. We sent him on his way with the assurance that he was welcome to call in any time and gave him some reading materials including John Blanchard's Jesus: Dead or Alive?  


I usually do my sermon prep on Wednesday and Friday mornings, but this week only Monday and Friday mornings were free, so I had to prepare Sunday morning's sermon on Monday - Genesis 42. The thought of doing this seemed a bit weird, but once I got stuck in I completely forgot what day it was, so it didn't really matter. In the afternoon read some more of Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics and a chapter of Iain Murray's biog of Archibald Brown.


Men's Meeting in the morning. John Coxhead, one of our deacons spoke on Fanny J Crosby, the blind hymn writer. Very helpful. I chaired the discussion afterwards. Home around 11.50am. Prepared for Wednesday evening's Bible Study - on 2 Samuel 1 before lunch. Dale Ralph Davis' commentary is excellent. Afternoon, a couple of pastoral visits. Evening, a Bible Study on Romans 8:17 at Maryport Street Baptist Church, Devizes. 


Attended the Bradford on Avon Ministers' Fraternal in the morning - here. Installed new superfast broadband hub thingy  from Virgin before I went. Big mistake. Took too long. Sorted in the end, but only just left on time. Pastoral visit in the afternoon. Our own Bible Study/Prayer Meeting in the evening. 


Pastoral visit in the morning. Then took part in an open air witness in Bradford on Avon. After lunch had a quiet afternoon. Wrote an article on the Queen's Jubilee for News & Views, West Lavington's parish mag.  


Prepared Sunday evening's sermon, Philippians 1:9-11. More Murray on Brown. Kids Club in the evening. Numbers a little low this week. Watched War Horse.


Day off. Wrote a gloomy photo-poem. And another not so gloomy one that I'll post in a couple of days. Went to nearby Stonehenge with wife and daughter while son revised for AS exams. There is an air of mystery about the place. What do those stones mean, just standing there in defiance of time's passing? Gazing at the ancient monument I was reminded of the brevity of life. Like listening to the relentless tick, tock of an old clock, to whose steady beat generations have come and gone. For the men of long ago, erecting Stonehenge must have been the most important thing in their lives. Yet what was it all for? Who knows? A temple for long-forgotten gods? A humongous calendar? But now it is a curio. A  tourist attraction just off the A303. A picturesque backdrop for countless grinning family photos.  The sacred barrows, a nice spot for a picnic, as coachloads come and go.

Pride of man and earthly glory,
sword and crown betray his trust;
what with care and toil he buildeth,
tower and temple fall to dust.
But God's power,
hour by hour,
is my temple and my tower.

Robert Bridges (1844-1930);
from Joachim Neander (1650-1680)

1 comment:

Bryan Hardman said...

Thanks Guy for 'a few handbreadths'
Encouraging to read your diary for a week. Helps me to keep keeping on. Good to know there are still some pastors who visit and read as well as preach.

May the Lord continue to encourage you and make you an encouragement.