Jenny’s letter 2nd June

Dear Friends,

The doorbell rang at 9.20 am. It was Dave the dog walker who had come to collect Anna’s dog Olive (the one who went through the fence to Narnia, otherwise known as the estate behind my house).

Anna was in her temporary office in my dining room. She was facilitating a meeting so in a lead role. Rachael was in the shower, and I was getting up and therefore in a state of undress. I do not think the reader need dwell on that for any length of time but yes, I was shamefully late.

Anyway, as some of you know, when you ring the doorbell in my house it is total pandemonium. Harry and Olive both run around trying to get help and raise the alarm. They remind me of Manuelle from Fawlty Towers. They also bark continually which makes many an Amazon delivery person run for the hills. I should say that they have both passed ‘Level 1’ dog training but staying calm when someone is at the door was not part of the assessment.

Back to the doorbell. It rang and chaos ensued. I found out later that Anna had previously asked Rachael to answer the door. I also learned afterwards that Rachael wandering past my bedroom door saying, ‘I’m going in the shower’ was my instruction to be ready to open the front door. I had not understood the mission.

Dogs barking, me clothe-less, Rachael covered in soap in the shower, Anna blissfully in ignorance that anything might be required of her.

Rachael shouts, ‘Mum it’s Dave’. There is no way I can make myself respectable and get down the stairs in anything like the time needed. Rachael on the other hand now has a towel around her and though soap is dripping down one side of her face, sacrifices her dignity to answer the front door. I am thankful. Rachael is fortunately laughing. Anna is oblivious until she gets a text from Dave which says, ‘You may owe your sister big-style.’

I hope that when the Lord comes, I will be more prepared than I was when the dog-walker came to the door today. As Christians we are encouraged to be prepared always for the second coming of Christ. We cannot avoid judgement, but if we are prepared, we should not fear it. Those of us who have accepted Jesus are promised eternal salvation; but that does not mean that we don’t have to think daily about the things that we say and do. We find out what that is like by reading (or listening to) the Bible and studying it alone and together. This does not have to be a chore.

I hope that out of your love for Jesus you will want to know more about him and as you learn, will become more self-aware, able to mould your thinking and your actions to his teaching.

The gospel of Matthew is one of the several places which reminds us that the final judgement we receive is affected by what we do and how we act now. ‘For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.’ (Matthew 16.27) Though the master of the vineyard rewards the workers who start later the same as those who come earlier (Matthew 20) we should not leave our spiritual preparedness to the eleventh hour.

 The Bible hints at the connection between how we behave now and what life is like in eternity. The call in scripture to ‘be prepared’ does not only refer to The Coming of Christ. The people from the church in Ephesus are encouraged to ‘put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, [they] may be able to stand [their] ground.’

Paul is taking an image that is before them, that is a Roman Soldier’s Uniform, and changing it into a powerful spiritual image of strength. He is reminding them of all the tools they have that enable them to live in very difficult circumstances.

Look in Chapter 6 of Ephesians and you will find the account describing the helmet of Salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the shoes of peace and the sword of the Spirit.

I often pray on the armour of God, for myself and for others. The armour was not just for the Ephesians. These are Spiritual tools that are available to us. God gives so that we may be prepared for whatever it is that is set before us, though I suspect that we are not always good at receiving the gifts he offers.

Dave the dog walker is still chuckling at the sight that greeted him. I hope the story has made you smile too and alongside that reminded you of the importance of being prepared and putting on your armour. Much more effective than a towel!

Wishing you a very good week ahead,

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