After nearly 40 years in ministry, it still saddens me at all the time and energy depleting ways in which folk let themselves get involve in things church - lower case 'c' intended.
Somehow playing church takes the place of an authentic Christianity which is based on a vital Relationship with Jesus Christ and which builds up the Church, the Body of Christ.
Somehow talking about The Book brings enough contentment. Gatherings, 'book clubs' are chosen as worthy and good things. The deep study of that Book of All Books, that study which brings joy, insight and maturity is never quite grasped.
We recently watched, for the umpteenth time the movie Chariots of Fire. This account of a gentle Scotsman who by his courageous act of conviction, turned the 1924 Olympic games on its head. The account never ceases to thrill me. Eric Liddell was termed a 'muscular Christian'. He was the genuine article. He was a man after God's own heart. He was unafraid to stand up to the pressure exerted by powerful men. Doing the right thing was all Liddell desired. He died in a concentration camp serving his fellow man as Christ would have done. He truly served his God all the days of his life with great grace and quiet joy.
Eric Liddell's life example inspires me today. Even his unique 'head back, chin forward' form as he approached the goal line thrills and delights.
O that I could somehow set my mind rightly regarding activities that are just busy-nesses; O to shake the spiritual lethargy that hinders my progress; O to be able stand in my own little sphere in a truly authentic way and so to make a difference.
I'm too often reminded of the Pastor's Postscript by Peter Marshall:
"Church members in too many cases
are like deep sea divers,
encased in the suits designed for many fathoms deep,
marching bravely to pull out plugs in bath tubs."