Pew Sermon for Sunday 24th July

Dear everyone.

There’s meant to be a Chinese curse that says may you live in interesting times.

However, it is almost certainly apocryphal, as nobody Chinese has ever heard of it! I think it’s one of those global myths that has just built up over the years. But who cares? It’s a great quotation, and surely, somebody Chinese might of said have once. It’s a big country, after all. My pal, who has visited the Chinese Church there, says they definitely do have THIS proverb: “It’s always raining somewhere in China!” (Because it is so vast.)

Anyway, interesting times certainly continue to come in July. I’ve had an interesting week, so has the Government, and I’m sure you have too. The weather is certainly heating up, the newspaper ‘redtops’ are going crazy with 41C headlines, and curiously, the coolest place to be in Surrey is in church, and I can attest to that blessing many times over, this week!

Heatwave? In danger? Come to Church. Simple!

The Winn Hall is not too bad either. We had our Vision morning meeting there on Saturday, and it was a super time of discussion, and comparing ideas and notes for the way forwards. Please do watch this space, because they’ll be plenty more on that as we map out a way forward for both churches, in terms of objective and method of achieving. I am really excited, and I hope you are, too!

Other Rutton news: I personally have been dealing with marriages, funerals,baptisms and, of course, the famous mysteriously swollen knee (ongoing!). Which interestingly featured in the vision morning, when someone accused me of being a total hypochondriac!

To which I replied, no, I’m not a hypochondriac, I am a very normal and genuine person with genuine minor medical needs, which are simply misunderstood! By everyone. And I’m sticking to that.

And the knee is sticking to its stubborn swollen-ness, and I have to say the heat is probably not helping, and I also have to say that it’s pretty trivial compared to other peoples’ problems.

But a trip to the physio, and some loosening up exercises, certainly didn’t do any harm whatsoever.

My favourite physio is just happens to be a Christian from one of my previous churches, and so, a trip to her not only cures all ills, but is almost certainly full of spiritual lessons as well:

Interestingly, in this case, she was explaining that when knees are injured, what can happen is that the body tries to over-protect that particular joint in the wrong way. It tries to isolate the joint by switching off the muscles each side of the knee. All very compassionate and considerate of my body, I’m sure, but that is precisely what makes a swollen knee worse! When the muscles stop firing, they stop protecting the joint, perversely. And that’s when the knee loses strength, goes floppy, and you fall over!

Strengthen the weak knees! Says Isaiah 35. Ah, but you need a bit of technique to do that:

The whole physio session was not (in fact) to do with reducing the swelling, because that apparently goes down on its own. The session was all to do with exercises which teach the muscles to fire again, just like the other knee which, thank goodness, is perfectly ok, with Schwarzenegger steely firing muscles happily flexing on both sides of the kneecap.

And I just thought, as we sermonisers do, goodness me there’s a lesson there.

The instinctive reaction isn’t always the correct reaction. Pulling up the drawbridge in times of trouble, and trying to stay safe, can often achieve precisely the opposite effect. Strengthening the defences in prayer and faith may be a better option than hiding in the dungeon in fear.

We live in faith, and we trust in God, and we step out with courage when times are hard.

Hiding in a dustbin, is a poor alternative!

I’m not saying that those flexing exercises don’t hurt, or are straightforward. They jolly well do hurt! But they are miles better than the alternative, floppy jointed pain! Because they put you back on a path to recovery. Here’s hoping and praying, anyway…

That’s it for me. Have a good week, and certainly I’ll be in touch as soon as I can. And I’ll be playing hopscotch with your kids or grandkids before you know it. Obviously, with all safeguarding measures correctly in place…

See you soon