Tag Archives: water
I remembered this yesterday, after 40+ years!
Students for the Ministry are under the supervision of the Presbytery within whose bounds they live.
At some point, near the end of their academic course, they are interviewed by a committee of presbyters – on a variety of aspects of Church matters.
At my meeting with the wise men of Dumbarton Presbytery, I was asked at one point by the Convener of this education committee about the Sacraments.
He asked – straightforwardly – “What is the element used in Baptism?” To which the answer – obviously – is “water”
Then the daft follow up: “What would the ‘Desert Fathers’ have done then?”
My reply: “I’m sure they would have found an obvious way to extemporise”. Think about it! Then added, “I don’t think that they were members of the Kirk anyhow!”
This humourless Rev didn’t say anything, but I think that I may have been on the cusp of being asked to “get my coat” (or – in ecclesiastical terms to p*** off; as opposed to the ‘Desert Fathers’ p***ing on)
A missionary, deep in the jungle, came upon a witch-doctor who was pounding his drum furiously.
“What’s wrong?” asked the missionary.
“We have no water” explained the witch-doctor.
“So you’re praying for rain?”
“Of course not!”, came the reply, “I’m sending for a plumber”
What do the following have in common? Zacchaeus, St. Paul, St Augustine, Francis of Assisi, John Newton the hymnwriter, Francis Thomson the poet?
All had a firm conviction in the power of Christ to change people’s lives.
Zacchaeus – from quisling to follower of Christ
Saul – from persecutor to Paul the apostle
Augustine – from wastrel to holy man
Francis – from self-centred indolence to friar and saint
Newton – from slaver to hymnist
Thomson – from hopeless drunk to Christian apologist
All changed , all made new – like countless others before and since and yet to come – through the transforming power of Jesus Christ who makes all things new.
If you’ve looked at the Gospel according to St John even superficially, you will have noticed that it’s considerably different from the others.
It’s as if the author is seeing things from a different perspective. He seems to get behind the facts, giving them a meaning and significance that are eternal.
He sees in the actions of Jesus something that is forever true; something that is still happening – happening even now.
The first miracle to be recorded by John is the story of turning water into wine. Some versions of the Bible refer to this as the first of the ‘signs’ that Jesus did.
And John, who had had many years to contemplate on what Christ did – sees in it something of profound significance.
Dull ordinary water, common H2O can become rich rich wine, full of bouquet and sparklinmg with promise.
And if water can become wine, the ordinary man or woman can become something exciting and rich and effervescent.
John is trying to convey to us that whenever Christ comes into our lives, there enters into them a new quality which is like turning water into wine – new exhilaration.
But where’s the key to this? How does life become new?
I once heard this story – a man was preaching at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park. There was only a handful of disinterested listeners there. But he preached on telling them about how marvellous Christ is.
A heckler interrupted him – ‘Here!’ he shouted ‘All this Jesus this and Jesus that…he’s been around for two thousand years and he’s done nothing for me!’
The preacher stopped and said ‘Friend, water has been around for several million years but by the look of your dirty face, it hasn’t done you much good either!’
Do you see it? You need CONTACT if all is to change in your life. You need contact if things are to become new.
And this contact? Look again at the story of the wedding at Cana. This is how Jesus revealed his glory says John, AND HIS DISCIPLES BELIEVED IN HIM.
Belief is the point of contact.
‘Behold, I make all things new’ says the risen and glorified Christ. Do you believe it? Can you dare believe it to be true?
Desperate from thirst and dehydration, a visiting minister was ushered into the vestry twenty minutes or so before the service was due to begin.
He noticed, on the desk, a very large glass of water which he greedily and thankfully gulped down.
It was only after he had slaked his thirst that he noticed the dead flowers lying in the waste paper bin.
Nervous minister in strange church being listened to by a vacancy (or search) committe, went up to the pulpit only to find that there was no way in; he’d gone to the wrong side and looked totally puzzled and consequently distraught. Glad to say he eventually found it with some help and preached a blinder of a sermon. He got the job.
A retired minister colleague who used to conduct a shedload of marriage ceremonies in and around Gretna Green was once nearing the end of one particular wedding service, when his mobile phone rang. Instead of ignoring it, he answered. It was from another venue nearby, asking where he was.
He answered (and remember that this is during a religious ceremony): “Won’t be long – once I’ve finished with this lot”
“This lot” rightly complained and he was banned for a while.