The 15th of January was Blue Monday: the most depressing day of the year. However, for many members of The Globe Church this day was a little brighter than to be expected. In my experience at least, Globe Weekend left me with a full heart (and stomach!), that led me to walk into work with a tangible sense of God’s new mercies – even on a cold January morning.
There is so much I am thankful to God for: as one of the many who flock to London after graduating, is has been a blessing to be welcomed to The Globe Church family. Feeling able to sit at a different table every meal brought opportunities to meet new people, learn new names, and deepen friendships. Whether on the morning run, afternoon walk, or by the cake table, there was space for rich conversations and laughter. The weekend would of course not have been complete without the genius murder mystery that baffled almost every group, not only because of one suspicious subject’s diverse range of regional accents.
Over the weekend we were blessed to be joined by Andrew Page who spoke about experiencing God through different seasons, struggles and longings. Through his talks, Andrew not only emboldened us with profound truth but encouraged prayerful response.
Experiencing God when it’s all too much (2 Cor 1:1-11)
Showing who God is, Paul gives us reason to be comforted through the suffering that we inevitably experience in this life. Firstly, God is the father of our Lord Jesus Christ; if we want to understand the heart of God we need only look at the life of Jesus. Secondly, he is the Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort. Finally, he is the God who raises the dead. His resurrection power is not only a past work but an ongoing and present reality.
Experiencing God when you’re least expecting it (John 20:11-18)
When Andrew asked us to discuss what struck us from this beautiful passage, my neighbour simply said: “Just that Jesus speaks her name. I mean – that’s everything isn’t it?” I couldn’t have put it better myself. It is when Mary least expects it, through her tears and sorrow, that she hears her name and truly recognises Jesus. We have the great hope of the day when we too will see the face of the risen Christ.
Experiencing God when I mess up (Psalm 51)
“If we choose sin, we lose joy”. One of Andrew’s many profound pithy lines, but it encapsulates so often what can keep us distant from God. Through Psalm 51, Andrew demonstrated the importance of voicing our confessions before the Lord. David tells God: 1. what he’s like (dirty, guilty and rotten), 2. what he wants (forgiveness, joy and the power to resist sin) and 3. what he is going to do about it (witness to others, worship God and keep repenting). Sometimes I feel exhausted by how easily I mess up, but God forgives again and again. He will never turn us away when we come to him in repentance because our forgiveness is found in what Christ has done.
Experiencing God when I’m hungry for him (Exodus 33-34)
In response to Moses’ request to see God‘s glory, Yahweh passes by him, proclaiming his name. Andrew took us to Mark 6 where Jesus comes down from the mountain, walks on the water and as he is about to pass by the terrified disciples he proclaims ‘I AM. Don’t be afraid’. The Exodus allusions affirm that Jesus is Yahweh’s revelation to us as a man. God’s name, as articulated in Exodus 34, shows his love and forgiveness alongside his fury at injustice and evil. What clearer demonstration of God’s name then do we have besides the cross? Where God’s love collides with his justice as he takes on himself the punishment for sin so that we might be free.
What a God we worship! And what a weekend to be reminded of who he is together. What was looking like a pretty dry January (in more ways than one) was certainly refreshed and rejuvenated for me by this little oasis of a weekend.
You can catch up on the talks from the weekend away on the preaching section of the website.