He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
Summer reminds me of sports day at school. Competitive and competent I practice hard. Winning was important. No more. Let me tell you why.
As a school governor I had the privilege of blowing the whistle to start every race. You could see those who really wanted to win, that steely determination and concentration. You see the same look in their parent’s eyes too. You could almost taste the sweat before the race began, and off they go, school year upon school year, race after race.
We had some children with what we referred to, at that time, as having ‘special needs’. The seven children lined up for their race aping their counterparts that had gone before.
On your marks; steady; go with the blast of the whistle. The roar of the parents encouraged them along and a real race unfolded with two streaking ahead. Half way soon came when disaster struck, down went the leader in a crumpled heap. The one in second ran on for a second, stopped, turned and went back. He checked on his friend and the others came up, picked him up, and all seven children hobbled over the line together in a joint victory….
So often we pursue the race of life and faith before us with grim determination. Personal salvation looms large in Protestant theology, yet this collective response I witnessed speaks to me of something deeper, of a God who loves all; black; white; male; female; teachers and pupils. God gives us strength when we are weary, strength not just for ourselves, but for others too. We share our stories of God sustaining us through difficult days and this testimony draws others into Christ’s presence. God increases our power when we acknowledge our weaknesses and helps us be with others to build each other up in faith, in joy, in love, that we may cross a line together, finish a task laid before us and celebrate with our brothers and sisters in Christ God’s grace and mercy.
Methodism is a movement of togetherness. We call it Connexionalism, where we are connected to each other, lawyer and criminal, granddad and newborn. Methodism is where the ‘strong’ support the ‘weak’, the ‘large’ support the ‘small’. Methodism places the Christ who loves everyone, regardless of background, at the fore-most place of our worship.
This summer, for Church, is traditionally a time we slow-down, take stock; recharge the batteries for the next Connexional year beginning in the September; a Connexional year that is designated as ‘The Year of Testimony’; a year to encourage one another to ‘Talk of God’, of how real Christ is in our lives, in not being afraid to admit our weaknesses and reliance on God, for Almighty God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
p.s. It was lovely to share Revd. Andrew Webster’s Circuit farewell at St. Julian’s last night. Thank you to St. Julian’s and to all involved. We gather again at St. Julian’s for Revd. Rachel Frank’s Circuit welcome Service on Thursday September 5th at 7.30 PM.