“Richard, you’re here!” Turning, I find a friend from Bath beside me in the short queue for morning coffee.
“Good to see you Richard” – I grin – “Thought I’d spotted you by the windows”. So we catch up with one another’s news.
Nina and I hadn’t been to Bath since last year, when Richard had mentioned a meeting in the Midlands. (I’d intuitively known it was important for me to hear its teachings, and it proved so – see Glory stories.) Today, however, we are in Windsor for Christian International Europe’s Annual Conference. It’s an easy 33 miles drive there to Dr Stone’s monthly meetings, but not for my namesake and Richard asks, “Where do you live?” We laugh upon discovering that he knows of the locality and says it’s like the area around Bath. (Our low hills and woods are in the South Downs National Park – take a peek.) And next, two interesting points follow…
I outline to Richard some of what happened last month and that Nina had been strongly impressed last December that September 2012 would be significant in some way. (This was connected with her seeing an unusually special Christmas picture in a newspaper. The impact was so great it inspired her to ask at ladies’ breakfasts she speaks to, Are You Ready? Nina starts these talks by saying the Lord had given her the full content in connection with “this picture”, which she displays, and its subtly implicit message – see image He’s On His Way at close of this year’s first post Points to ponder 2011-12.)
“Others have said the same about September”, is Richard’s immediate response! AND as though to confirm both Nina’s impression and Richard’s remark, the guest speaker will briefly speak on that topic in the very next conference session!!
So exactly what is it about September 2012?
First, let’s go to its lead-in: the end of August with its inevitable ‘back to school’ theme. We’re not normally faced with that, yet our two youngest grandsons were about to start pre- and primary school, and the oldest at his new school in early September. But that wasn’t why this theme had my attention. It had been on my mind all month! Why? An ancient ember deep within me had been fanned by a commentary by the leader of Bath City Church, Stewart Keiller. He writes about the fourth chapter of St Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church and his post is entitled:
I hope you, dear reader, believer or no, will click on that title to consider carefully, even digest, Stewart’s pithy style of excellent teaching. He writes about ‘the old man’, ie. the lifestyle we had before being ‘born anew’ (my term) to become a new man/woman, and then ‘let’s go to school,’ wherein he describes what ‘the School of Christ’ is like, viz:
You learned him (Greek) ‘emathete’, how do we learn a person? The first lesson in this school is its about a relationship, you get to know Jesus by being with him and spending time with Him in your day to day life (John17:3). <my emphases>
You heard him ‘ekousate’, you hear through the Spirit and Word. The Spirit is at work in you to speak to you life, you need to tune into him. This is not some theory class, this is a learning to tune into the very speaking spirit within. But we get tutored in the word of God, the word on paper becomes the word in Spirit, this is not just subjective feeling it is supernatural reality at work.
You are taught by him ‘edidachthete’, actually the word is “in him”, Jesus is the atmosphere in which we are taught. This is part of the theme ‘in Christ Jesus’, the immersion into Jesus. Its why baptism is such a great description of the reality of our faith, we are immersed into the life of Jesus.
When Jesus Christ is at once the subject, the object, and the environment of the moral instruction being given, we may have confidence that it is truly Christian. For truth is in Jesus. (John Stott)
“So what is our response to school?” asks that writer, before covering what it produces.
“What is your response?” I ask you, my reader.
May I suggest you run off a hardcopy of that 4-page piece, weigh its words and chew its scriptural content? Then, next week we may be able to appreciate my response and an account of what happened this September and, keen as I was, why this had to wait until after last weekend – as well as to read about the 2nd point in 2 Richards’ chat 🙂
…continued in part 2