Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Preacher's Prayer

Some may find this a bit corny - that's ok, but I found it deeply moving. It reflects the heart of a man who wants to live for God in a challenging world. The desire to live right before God, to build committed relationships, to forgive those who sin against us - all this is expressed in this song.  The well-known and much-loved tune Finlandia was not written for these words but offers them a platform that just seems to fit so well.

When I was ordained to the work of the ministry we sang a song written by one of the pioneers of the Elim Pentecostal churches, E C W Boulton.  The words remain with me as a very similar cry from the heart as the one sung by Haase and his team.

Move me, dear Lord, and others I shall move to do Thy will;
Mould Thou this life into a vessel fair Thyself to fill;
No charm with which to draw do I possess,

In Thee I find the secret of success.

If you preach, or aspire to do so, this prayer isn't a bad place to begin.

Friday, September 09, 2011

What a Day!

It is so hard to face this fact - but on this very day, the 9th September 1972, yes, 39 long years ago, Diane and I were married.  We had absolutely no idea of the kind of exciting life we were destined to lead.  Maybe if we had, at least one of us would have pulled out before the ceremony!  The service was held in our home church at Vazon Elim in Guernsey within earshot of the nearby sand races on the beach.  The windows of the church building were open and we could hardly hear ourselves think above the roar of motor bike and racing car engines.  But I do remember these words:
'I, Eric, do take thee, Diane to be my wedded wife... I will love her, comfort her, honour and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, will keep myself only unto her, as long as we both shall live.'  Diane said the same to me.  We meant it.  I was at her side as she battled through 13 years of crippling anxiety and depression. Together we faced the issues that were tearing at her peace.  Together we found answers that would enable us both to receive not only wholeness, but to go on and serve God in remote corners of the world.  Not without fear, but in spite of it.

Then Diane has stayed by my side like a limpet through my 15 year battle with the appalling disease pancreatitis.  She has been there for me when I was deep in coma, acting as my advocate in hospitals around the British Isles.  She has protected me, prayed for me, believed for me when my faith was failing, waited for me, trusted with me and rejoiced with me in these early days of return from the battlefield.  I want her to have the joy of many more years without pain, but this is a partnership that will not be measured in years or even decades.

Without doubt the best part of our wedding day was flying away at the end on honeymoon.  We crossed by air to Jersey and in those days the airline used to weigh passengers on a big public scale and then assign your seating according to your weight!  As you can see, we did not have too much to be embarrassed about getting on to the scales then - but if it was now!  Well, we sat on the pier in Jersey eating chips out of the paper, in a Morris 1100 hire car with no carpets or heater, and just gazed into the distance together.  Good thing we could not glimpse what was really up ahead.  But Jesus did, and He chose us for each other. We are so grateful that He did.