Have you ever put a message in a bottle? Last month the world’s oldest message in a bottle was discovered by a walker called Steve Thurber on a beach in Tofino, south-west Canada. It was written and put in the bottle by Earl Willard, from San Francisco, 1115 miles away. When did he write it? 107 years ago, in September 1907. What is the message? Through the glass you can see the date and the name, but you can’t see the message, and Mr Thurber refuses to open the bottle!
Imagine the excitement of discovering a message like that, from so long ago … wouldn’t you have opened it? What’s the point of a message, if it is not opened, received, read, and heard? The gospel is a message about Jesus from a long time ago, and it needs to be freshly opened, received, read and heard by us and by others, all the time. How thrilling to have such good news, such life-changing news, which comes from the past, but is real and relevant for now, for us, for our friends.
During the month of October we shall be holding some training sessions in preparation for our JY 14 mission next November; see the ‘advert’ later in FOCUS. We shall be considering that gospel message, and how to tell it, how to pass it on. We need to be people who can uncork it for other people, let it out of its bottle, and let it be heard. What an exciting prospect. When I was growing up, a lot of people thought they knew what Christianity was about, and didn’t really want to be told it again. Today, I think many are aware that they don’t know what Christianity is all about, and would genuinely be really interested to find out. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:3, ‘What I received, I passed on to you.’ We must not be like Steve Thurber, receiving a message, but keeping it to ourselves.
Meanwhile, for those at St. John’s, please pray and give in our Gift and Promise Day (October 6th) for the tower project. If you miss the day, you can still give, or set up a standing order, or consider other ways to raise money. If we all play our part, the job gets easier. And please pray for Rob Dean who is doing a huge amount of work heading up the project, and for John Beauchamp our architect, and for Martin Warr as treasurer.
Happy Autumn to all! With all best wishes – James.