Tag Archives: Jerusalem

Spiritual Mediocrity

One of the benefits of lockdown is, it makes church easier. No more rushing on a Sunday morning, misjudging the time available and grabbing a banana as we rush out the door in a hectic attempt not to be late.

Now, even if we only wake at 9.30, which is an extreme case, we can still participate in church in our pyjamas. We can drink coffee during church and even eat breakfast! Rosebank Union Church has organised their platform in such a way that we can interact with other members of the church or even request prayer during the live broadcast.

We are in Hibberdene at the moment, escaping from the cold of Randburg with a doctor’s note stating it will be better for my husband’s circulation problem in his hands in a warmer climate. When we’ve been on holiday here, or, for that matter in any other location away from home, it is always a mission to attend church on a Sunday. First you have to spend a long time on the computer finding out what churches are nearby, what their times are and how to get there. Then you go to a totally strange place among total strangers and join their service. There have been times, of course when this has been a great blessing, but it’s always a bit stressful. Lockdown has changed all that.

Yesterday’s live service from our own church was a blessing, if somewhat uncomfortable. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bG9KVvymidI

We are working through Ezra. After seventy years in exile, God worked in the heart of Cyrus, the Babylonian king, as well as in the hearts of some of the exiles, which resulted in a large group of them returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. They started with enthusiasm, built the altar and foundations, dedicated the altar and celebrated. Then opposition came, they got discouraged and the work stopped for 15 years.

Then two prophets gave them a word from God. The reason they were not flourishing, (you earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it, (Hag1:7)) was that they were concentrating on building their own lives and dwellings and businesses and not on what God had called them to do.

Perhaps we, too, are stuck in spiritual mediocrity, putting aside what God has called us to and instead focusing on our own lives, families, needs and wants. I am sure I was not the only member of the congregation to be challenged and determine immediately to change my ways.

However, I am in a quandary. It is all very well for the Israelites. They were called specifically to build the temple – and not all of the exiles were called either. Only some. I am not sure what my main calling is. Certainly I feel called to write. Then I know that God gave me my husband in answer to a prayer. I am called to love him, honour him and cherish him. One of my top three priorities in life, which I formulated for myself long ago at a Christian camp after I recommitted myself to the Lord, was to make one person extremely happy. That I still regard as a priority. Then, at some stages I’ve felt called to get involved in the Gideon ministry, the Alpha ministry and other short time callings.

All I can do is pray and look for God’s guidance.

Dear Father, Please forgive me for living my life as if I were in charge rather than You. You made me, You bought me with a price and I have freely given You access to my life for Your control. You know me inside and out. You understand my personality, my strengths and weaknesses. Please show me where You want me to focus my attention for Your kingdom building. Thank you. Amen.

Psalm 122

After a couple of detours to look at other views, I’m back in the Psalms and today’s was Psalm 122. It is a Psalm I normally skip over as of no interest to me but today I meditated on it a bit longer.

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem. (Psalm 122:1-2 NIV)

I thought of myself being invited by a group of friends to go on an exciting trip with them, to Jerusalem, to the temple. I felt included. “Let us…” I also felt accepted. There was a tacit understanding that I would be welcome in the house of the LORD.

It was also exciting. “Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem.” I might take a selfie of myself and my group with the gates. It’s like boasting on social media -“I am at the Taj Mahal, or the Red Square or Big Ben.”

Verses 3 – 5 describe Jerusalem almost like a travel brochure – what it looks like, some of its history and tourist attractions.

Image by Martin Forciniti from Pixabay (adapted)

The remaining verses exhort us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. It’s like going to Cape Town and being asked to save water.

So, as a tourist to Jerusalem, I will pray for its peace and prosperity.