Suffering, Gospel and Calling

It is October 31st, which in some circles is known as Reformation Day, the day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. It is good to remember those who have gone before us, the giants upon whose shoulders we may sit. There was much suffering to make known the truth of God’s word and how it ought to inform worship and doctrine.

As we met yesterday for worship I was very conscious of that fact. We spent a few moments reflecting on what was achieved. Solihull Presbyterian Church owes a great deal to the Reformation, perhaps more than we realise. The day brought to a close a wonderful month for us: three adults and three children received into membership, a covenant child baptised the previous Sunday, our best average morning attendance for a calendar month ever (even with half-term holiday disruption!). We don’t know why. Everything we try seems to have little direct effect. Yet interesting things keep happening.

I continued our series in Mark’s gospel, looking at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (1:12–20). Jesus, thrust into the wilderness by the Spirit, shows us the supernatural dimension of his ministry, resisting satanic temptation which signalled the undoing of the fall of Adam, portending the good news of victory. Jesus proclaimed the gospel of God, summoning people to repent and believe. It is what he was all about — everything else fed that end. Others were called to follow him (more literally, “Here! Behind me!”), not to be teachers like the Rabbis, but to become fishers of men. How hands on! — to do what Jesus was already going, declaring the truth and calling people to repent and believe. What a model!

Jesus. Luther. SPC? Pray for us as we seek to be faithful to our Lord and honour those clay-footed giants of the past, as Luther certainly was, but most of all, that the man-fishing would go well in Solihull.

Originally published at on October 31, 2016.

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