Dear brothers and sisters,
‘The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley’… don’t they just! This week we have had to postpone two events through a number of people being on holiday and others having more pressing business. We will find a new date, possibly the end of November, for the Race Night, and the Church Family Outing (originally planned for Sunday 30th June) will now take place following the service on Sunday 25th August.
It just goes to show though that, with the best will in the world, it is difficult to plan anything in this day and age that doesn’t clash with some other activity that is taking place in the life of our members or in the community. The same goes for a Sunday morning, which clashes with so many other youth or family oriented activities. ‘You just have to be more imaginative’ we are told. ‘You need to put on something that people want to come to.’ And we’ve tried. Not just in this church but all the churches in the community have tried, tried and tried again. But the sad fact of the matter is that little works. And I think I know the reason why. Because they have been our plans that ‘gang aft agley’ not God’s. God’s plan for this world is that people should come to know Christ as their own personal living Lord and Saviour. And we plan countless activities that we think will bring people into the church without inviting them to meet Jesus at all.
Maybe it’s time we got collective act together and asked God what his plans for our church and community are? The Church of Scotland has woken up to this and asked churches to devote time to prayer from September –December as they seek to implement the Radical Action Plan agreed at this years’ General Assembly. Perhaps it would have been better if this call to prayer had come before the Radical Action Plan was put together lest it prove to be more of the ’schemes o’ Mice an’ Men’.
‘Surely’, I hear you shout, ‘doing something has to be better than doing nothing’ which is perfectly true unless, of course, you are doing the wrong thing. Ad so, before we do the wrong thing again at South Wishaw, I am inviting you all to join me in prayer before we begin a new session, as we seek to discover together God’s plans for the future of this church in our parish and community. I will arrange a number of prayer meeting throughout the month of August and hope to see as many of you there as possible. Please look out for the notices of the times and dates of these meetings through which we hope to see real radical change in Wishaw that honours God.
Your brother in Christ, Terry
2 Chronicles 7
The Lord appears to Solomon
11 When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace, 12 the Lord appeared to him at night and said:
‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
13 ‘When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there for ever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
17 ‘As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, “You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.”
19 ‘But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple which I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, “Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?” 22 People will answer, “Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshipping and serving them – that is why he brought all this disaster on them.”’