Brothers and Sisters,
Jesus gives us a wonderful idea in John 17:13 when he talks about his followers having ‘the full measure of my joy within them”. Perhaps ‘joy’ is not the primary emotion you have felt this week – never mind the full measure of the joy of Christ! When you are tired, weary and worn even a little joy seems like a great ask!
But then it gets deeper and more complex. Jesus goes on to say, “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” (John 17:14). Sometimes Christians get perplexed and confused when people don’t like us – and even hate us for seeking to live a Christian life. Sometimes Satan’s ‘fiery darts’ just bounce off – but there are occasions when they get through. This week I had one of those experiences and was a bit discouraged. I prayed seeking help and then I read this….
“When having become virtuous we are persecuted by the wicked, or when being desirous of virtue we are mocked at by them, let us not be distracted or angry. For this is the natural course of things, and everywhere virtue is wont to engender hatred from wicked men. For envying those who desire to live properly and thinking to prepare an excuse for themselves if they can overthrow the credit of others, they hate them as having pursuits opposite to their own, and es every means to shame their way of life. But let us not grieve for this is a mark of virtue” (Chrysostom – note that he uses ‘virtue’ here in the sense of being a Christian and seeking to live a Christian life).
It was true in the 4th Century and it is true today. We think that people will love the goodness and beauty of Christ. Yes – there are those who are attracted by Christ – but often that is superficial until they get his teaching. In reality they love darkness because their deeds were evil. I loved the advice of Chrysostom – that we should not be distracted or angry by opposition to the Gospel or to seeking to live by Christ’s standards. I hope that encourages you if you have faced or will face opposition this week…
Meanwhile we continue to look at ways of communicating Christ to a world which is in desperate need of the Good News. Although we are finished the weekly Online Café (you can still catch up with them on YouTube and the St Thomas’s website), we hope to do a monthly one. Please let me know what you think via
In Third Space every week we put out The Kitchen Table – this edition looked at the hunt for a vaccine and the need for the Gospel vaccine. tinyurl.com/the-kitchen-table
My book recommendation this week is a little book by Matthias Press just simply called John Calvin – Prayer. This is a collection of quotes on prayer from The Institutes. It’s beautiful, simple, deep and so, so helpful.
A song to share is Psalm 91 – This version by Australia’s own Sons of Korah is one of the most beautiful songs you will ever hear – claim the promises. tinyurl.com/psalm91-song
May you know the full measure of Christ’s joy this week,
You can find all the resources David has previously recommended in one place at cec.st-thomas.org.au/david-robertson-suggests