I have just returned from a break in Stirling, it was only 3 days and most of it was spent travelling from the West Coast of Scotland to the East Coast.
I spent my nights in the Stirling Youth Hostel, which by the way is good with everything you need and a room with ensuite is only £30. I did the touristy things and wandered the walks and took photos of the historic buildings and generally enjoyed myself. No TV or radio, (I forgot the headphones for my phone.) which was great. On the last morning while waiting for my bus to Glasgow I looked around the shopping centre. WOW! I had forgotten how long I had been living in the sticks!
Marks and Spencer Food Hall blew my mind, so much fresh fruit and veg. Meat ,Meals , shelves and shelves of it. I must have looked a bit strange because I think I stood there with my mouth open. Our Co-op, is about 15×30 ft, and it gets very cosy if you try to pass someone in an aisle. You know exactly what should be on the shelves, but it can’t be guaranteed. (Even worse, I suspect if you live on one of the islands.)
I wasn’t there to holiday though. I had an interview in Fife, that’s the sticky out bit of land above Edinburgh, if you don’t know. The coastal towns/villages are very pretty but going inland, places began to look a bit tired and run down.
I got as near as I could to my destination for my interview for Parish Assistant , having been given much advice by two members of staff at the YH amusingly named James and John! There was a taxi outside the nearest station, just the one, and I got chatting to Bob who was very interested to know why an English woman was going to his home town. “Not much there .” He said. He didn’t go to church he said but he transported a lot of old women there. He didn’t even know where the Church was!
I had a look around the place, an old fashioned bakery was really busy, it had all the old cakes I used to buy when the children ,now in their 30’s were at home,including green frog sponge cakes and Mallow Men. If I hadn’t have been trying to look professional I would have brought a box of fancy cakes home. As it was I had a large ruck sack and a hession carrier with “I love Crawley” on it already and resembled a bag lady. Bless Norman ,the session clerk ,who met me, who said “Don’t worry, you look fine!”
The interview went fairly well, same old questions and my presentation .The subject I was given to speak on was “How can Parish Churches reach people in their communities that other Churches can’t reach.” Well, doesn’t that just sound like the Heineken advert? “the beer that refreshes parts that other beers can’t reach.” Well thats where I started from! Then I told them about Carlsberg, if they did Luggage carousels you would get a crate of lager with your luggage, if you got your haircut you and your dog would be entertained by an all dancing /singing group and so on.
They didn’t laugh much, and I began to wonder if they thought that I was a raging alcoholic!
So then I asked them “What if Carlsberg did Church?” Would we really believe that God could transform lives by the power of the Holy Spirit? Would we be an all singing ,praising group of people who knew the price Jesus had paid for us and that we were saved by grace. Would we live in communities where people were allowed to be themselves and we would help each other grow into who we could be in Christ?
They went a bit quiet then and moved me along. Of course we don’t need Carlsberg but we do need to be better equipped and trained to meet the needs of those hurting in our communities before we start going out there to help. So that was the gist of my speech.
The HR people didn’t say much, but I could see Norman was impressed and he told me so afterwards. I have no idea if I’ll get the post and couldn’t help asking God why he would want me there any way?
So it’s a waiting time again, it would mean great change for the remaining young person and me to move again.
My reading today was this:
Our heavenly Father is interested in every detail in our life. If we want Him to work in a particular area—whether relationships, finances, vocation, habits, or something else—we must be willing to let go of our control and give over to Him whatever He asks of us.
We may think we have no attachments that come between us and the Lord, but He knows our hearts. One Sunday as I was about to preach a sermon along these lines, He showed me something I hadn’t yet surrendered. I realized I needed to deal with it, or I wouldn’t be able to preach the sermon. So I was glad when the choir’s song took a while, because I had time to come to a place of being able to say, “Lord, if that’s what You desire, I commit it to You. You have the right to claim it at any time, so it’s Yours right now.”
It’s difficult to be completely obedient if we’re holding on to something too tightly. The Lord wants our attachment to be exclusively to Him. You may have multitudes of things that God has blessed you with, but the moment any of it has a hold on you, His work in your life will be blocked. But when you open your hands, gripping nothing, you will be totally free as the Holy Spirit’s power flows through you.
Is there anything you feel you could never give up? Think about whatever captivates you, and honestly consider whether it also holds you captive. I challenge you to release that relationship or situation to the Lord right now so He can give you the freedom you’ve been craving.
It’s time to hand over control and wait.