I am part of a geriatric exercise group – Monday to Friday we manipulate our aging bodies into various poses and actions to ensure the joints and muscles do not seize completely. At this time of the year, three mornings are spent in a swimming pool doing aquarobics, and two on the floor doing Callanetics, waving our legs around, crunching our abdomens, flexing our arms with weights. Thankfully all in private.
Despite the fairly strenuous activity we seem to have enough puff for equally vibrant chatter. The other morning we were talking about David Teeger being stripped of his captaincy of the U19 cricket team because of his declared support for Israel. As he is a Jew, it was to be expected and reasonable. To my way of thinking anyway. One of our ladies, however, felt he should have kept quiet, that it was not a time to speak out a controversial viewpoint.
I strongly disagree on the grounds that what is good for the goose should be as good for the gander. Why is it that Muslims and dissidents of all shapes and sizes are allowed to bellow out their beliefs and demand in hectoring tones that the rest of the world listen to them, give way to their bullying, while anyone not of their persuasion is not allowed to speak about their faith, their beliefs.
I go back to a previous post where I spoke of hearing my Lord Jesus say: “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” Mathew 10:32,33 Again in Luke 12:8 – 10 “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven, but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgotten.’”
I do not hear these words in a threatening tone, but rather one of anguish, His voice breaking, dreading having to deny children He loves, nay, adores, before His Father. Why? Because He knows the final judgement:
“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
Back in Luke, when Jesus is told by the Pharisees to tell His disciples to be quiet, His response:
“I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”
Luke 19: 40
Jesus does not need us to praise, we need us to praise Him. He is the only deity who stretched out His hand to give us a leg up, who didn’t demand that we attain the impossible in perfection by our own strength. I happen to think that is awesome and worth shouting from the mountaintop.
Going back to the prophet Habakkuk:
“For the stone will cry out from the wall, And the beam from the timbers will answer it. Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, Who establishes a city by iniquity! Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts That the peoples labour to feed the fire, And nations weary themselves in vain? For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, As the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2: 11-14
We are having one of the wettest and most temperate summers I can remember. Today the forecast is for a clear day, a warm sun shining from dawn to dusk. But clouds hover persistently and I think to myself, not what a wonderful world, but that the clouds of war are echoed in the heavens, and I wonder at the portent of these times.