A relatively early start this morning in order to get to Grove Chapel, Camberwell, for the Banner South East Conference. The theme for the day was ‘Take my life and let it be’, evidently an allusion to the hymn, which continues, ‘Consecrated Lord for Thee’.
The first address was titled ‘Being a Christian in the world’. This dealt with the point raised by Elijah and Elisha, when Elisha was called to serve, and to words Jesus said in Lk 9:57-62. For in both cases, the follower needed to look to their master and not look back. In Elijah’s case, Elisha asked that he might say his farewells to his friends and family, removed any options to return by burning the equipment and cooking his oxen on the fire to serve as his farewell meal, then Elisha followed his master. In Jesus’ case, the prospective follower wanted to wait until his father had died before he followed Jesus. As Christians in today’s world, we must not be looking back at what we have given up, whether it is things, people or practices, but seek to follow Christ wholeheartedly.
A seminar followed, which focussed on being a godly man/woman. For men, we have the perfect example in Jesus Christ, the ultimate man. We looked at how he was physically well-built, rather than the effeminate portrayals in popular art, but not only that, but he was also spiritually well-built, with a humility, strength and willingness to do his Father’s will. We also looked at how Esau, Samson and Adam had particular qualities of godliness, but because their godliness was incomplete, they succumbed to temptation and failed in their duties as men.
The second address was ‘Being a Christian in the church’. As Christians we are not called to operate as lone rangers against the world, but we are to work within the context of a local church. It is in this context that we are matured, and that we are able to serve God fully. We are to be committed to that church, to love one another and to serve one another, that we might glorify God where we are, here and now.
In between and after the various events were opportunities to eat, catch up with old friends and make new friends. The day ended with a stroll around central London, with a walk across a Southwark bridge decked out for festivities. A very good day!