Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I’m watching with a sense of horror and dread the riots and demonstrations in the UK – I am in the process of writing something more about the breakdown of law and order in the UK – but a nation where the government does not enforce the rule of law is one that is rapidly reaching the end. I thought about that here in Sydney – where after months of largely excellent self-discipline, the social contract was broken when the law courts, terrified of the mob, ruled a gathering of 20,000 legal. People can’t go to funerals, can’t gather to worship God, or watch footie – but they can apparently march through a city centre, shoulder to shoulder. Whatever happens now lockdown is over – the moral authority of those who asked for it has disappeared. I noticed that this weekend. Everyone’s had enough and many are clearly just thinking – so what…if BLM activists can do what they want – why can’t we?
The pictures of the rioting were one thing – the picture of Donald Trump taking a photo op with a bible was another. I am reading through the homilies of Chrysostom at the moment – and this week I came across this apt quote in his homily on John 4
“For which of you when in his house takes some Christian book in hand, and goes over its content and searches the Scriptures? None can say that he does so, but with most we shall find draughts and dice, but books nowhere, except among a few. And even these few have the same disposition as the many; for they tie up their books, and keep them always put away in cases, and all their care is for the fineness of their parchments, and the beauty of the letters, not for reading them. …The Scriptures were not given for this only, that we might have them in books, but that we might engrave them on our hearts”. Chrysostom – Homily on John 4:13-14
These things lay heavy on my heart and sometimes I just cry to the Lord, “How long O Lord? How long?”. I can see what is happening in the US, UK and here in Australia – and it’s not an aberration. This is the result of a pattern and trajectory which if it continues will only get a lot worse. As the nations – who have known great blessings from the Lord – and have largely been founded on his word – reject that word, they are also rejecting those blessings. I was very burdened by this when I was walking in the nearby Artemon reserve. I love to go and sit here, to pray, meditate and think. This week I was down there, and my reading was from Deuteronomy 8:6-7.
“Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land – a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills;”
It made me deeply thankful. My concern is to observe the commands of God, walk in obedience to him and revere him. He has brought me into a good land. We are deeply thankful.
Another thing I am thankful for are a couple of new discoveries (to me!). The Apple EarPods are genius. And Spotify is such a gift. It seems to know what I like – I have discovered some great new blues music. For example – Gary Clark
And then this brilliant version of ‘Will the Circle be Unbroken?”. This is usually played as a kind of ‘yee hah’ C and W song when in reality it is better as a Blues song. This came through my EarPods when I was cycling home one day – I almost fell off my bike with joy. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
I hope that this coming week – as the continuing disintegration of our society continues, as having sown the wind we are beginning to reap the whirlwind; that you will know the joy, presence and peace of the Lord,
See you next week,