• Rossendale Circuit

14th April - Thought For The Day - Stripped Back

Words by Bev Jones

Stripped Back

Stripped back I’ve just been listening to Spring Harvest online and marvelling at the wonder of modern technology. Normally at this time of year, this massive Christian conference would be taking part in three different venues across a couple of weeks, but obviously this year, things are being done differently. At very short notice, the organisers decided to make it a free event streamed via YouTube, with music, various speakers and even question and answer sessions being orchestrated from home offices and front rooms. All the normal trappings – the holiday camps, restaurants, different stalls, workshops and packed arenas for celebrations have been taken away, and all that remains are the bare bones of worship in all its many facets and forms. Some years ago, many of the things that gave my life structure and stability were stripped away as I entered what I now realise was one of those ‘difficult seasons’ in my life. At the time, God gave me a very clear picture of a house that was being dismantled brick by brick from the roof down. Only once it had been stripped to the very foundations did the rebuilding begin - again, brick by brick. A couple of years after that picture, I read the following passage written by CS Lewis in ‘Mere Christianity’, that resonated with the picture that God had given me:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” (Lewis C.S. (1952). Mere Christianity MacMillan Publishers)

Photo by jötâkå via Unsplash

I was reminded of that as I listened to Spring Harvest today. At the moment, it feels very much as if many of the things that gave our lives structure have been taken away and things dismantled. Churches are closed and our normal ways of collective worship have been interrupted. But perhaps in this time, the church is being re-built. Perhaps we ourselves are being re-built as we explore different ways of being and doing, and we allow God to work in us as we learn to worship Him and communicate with Him in different ways. None of this will make things any less painful, but we may become more resilient and more willing to trust God, as we encounter Him in different ways as He meets us where we are.
As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us. 1 John 3: 24 (MSG)
- Bev Jones
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