Tuesday morning start for me here at the Church with me going round and emptying the rubbish bins, sorting out the recycling and restocking the toilet paper and hand towels. I guess it's the lot of being a minister in a small Church... You get to do a lot of the stuff that just needs doing. Anyway it was raining this morning and wintery, but the rubbish still needed to be collected, sorted out and put out at the gate for collecting.
Perhaps the biggest storm cloud wasn't the one that had swept in our the city that morning, bring cold wind and showers, but the one that hung over my head. The assault of a soiled nappy on my nostrils, food scraps mixed with bottles which should have been in the recycling...At least as I dumped the content of the waste paper bins in the toilets into the big rubbish bag they didn't explode and spill over the floor this time... and someone had beaten me to replenish the toilet paper in the loo's this week. Perhaps I'm putting it on a bit thick but you get the picture and probably the emotion. And it probably captures the indignation I was feeling and the sense of "you know I don't know many other ministers who have to put up with doing this sort of stuff... grumble, grumble, grumble... and while it was probably a silly thing to get upset about..it felt actually very encouraging that God spoke into that mood.
Back to my office and time to do a quite devotion... One of the things that I am really pleased with is that we have started doing the E100 essential Jesus bible reading challenge here at St Peter's. a 100 day challenge to read through significant portions of scripture that speak of Jesus, put out by Scripture Union, the Bible Society and Wycliffe Bible translators to encourage and promote good bible reading habits... The reading today was Philippians 2:1-11 focusing on Jesus example of servant hood and sacrifice. Whitney (I though it was a woman by the name... but it's a bloke) Kuniholm's commentary focused round what Paul was getting at...
" he wants Christians in a first century city called Philippi to be less selfish and more loving, compassionate, joyful and united. Good advise for Christians in any town, at any time. But the question was how? Paul's answer was simple: live like Christ."
Then he focused in on what Paul says about Jesus (or the ancient hymn Paul quotes) two things struck home...
Jesus humbled himself (v.&) The creator of he universe was willing to serve his creatures. Are you willing to serve those "lower" than you?
Jesus obeyed his father (v.8) for him it meant death on a cross. What does obeying God mean for you today?
Ok not earth shattering, but a real sense of God knowing what was on my heart and speaking into it.
A call to fierce love for the people I am called to... courageous leadership and yes humble servanthood as well. Even if it means faithfully taking out the trash on a rainy cold winter Tuesday mornings.