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1 5th July 16:28
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Default When Life Tumbles In, What Then? (Advent sermon) (sermon theology faith case death)

Life will come crashing in on each of us some time. And different people
will have different reactions...

The other day a hairdresser I hadn't met previously asked what I did? My
usual response is 'I'm a counsellor.' 'So am I,' she said. Of course: most
hairdressers and many taxi-drivers are 'counsellors'. 'So what's been an
interesting case?' I asked. She said she was working in a suburb not far
from here, and an elderly 'regular' came in on a different day than usual.
Why did she change her day? Well, her husband was dead at home, dead in bed,
he'd died during the night. 'Have you contacted anybody?' the
hairdresser-counsellor asked. 'Oh no,' the lady replied, 'I had to have my
hair done first!'

Last week I had a birthday (I forget how many I've had :-) and later that
night Jan and I and two of our daughters were playing Rummycub. Our son,
quite a brilliant poet and philosopher, who loves to 'stir' us Christians at
every opportunity came over from next door where he lives with his family
and asked: 'If you knew the end of the world was about to happen would you
continue to play this stupid game?’ 'Yes,' we all responded. (Martin Luther
when asked a similar question said he'd plant a tree)...

Three of the greatest sermons in the English language in the 20th century
focussed on this question. Arthur John Gossip tragically lost his wife when
they were in their middle years, and the following Sunday he stood in the
pulpit to preach. His first sentence: ‘When Life Tumbles In, What Then?’
Gossip took as his text Jeremiah 12:5: 'So, Jeremiah, if you're worn out in
this footrace with men, what makes you think you can race against horses?
And if you can't keep your wits during times of calm, what's going to happen
when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?' Gossip preached: 'I
don't think you need to be afraid of life. Our hearts are very frail, and
there are places where the road is very steep and very lonely, but we have a
wonderful God. And, as Paul puts it, "What can separate us from his love?
Not death," he writes immediately. No, not death, for standing in the
roaring of the Jordan, cold with its dreadful chill and very conscious of
the terror of its rushing, I, too, like Hopeful in Pilgrim's Progress, can
call back to you who one day in your turn will have to cross it, "Be of good
cheer, my brother, my sister, for I feel the bottom and it is sound."’
Gossip had reached the bottom of who he was in his grief. But at the bottom,
he reached the core of all that he believed: 'You people in the sunshine
*may* believe the faith, but we in the shadows *must* believe it. We have
nothing else!'

Shalom! Rowland Croucher

Snoopy was typing a manuscript, up on his kennel.
Charlie Brown: 'What are you doing Snoopy?'
Snoopy: 'Writing a book about theology.'
Charlie Brown: 'Good grief. What's its title?'
Snoopy (thoughtfully): 'Have You Ever Considered You Might Be Wrong?'
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