Sunday, 22 March 2015

From head to heart

Megan Taylor preached at St Michaels (Southfields London SW18) this morning . She spoke about the story of Zacchaeus. She would not know that exactly 6 years ago I had actually been in Jericho by the 'very tree'. She was right . We know the story as a children's story , but it is for all . Going deeper , she spoke of how Jesus got right by the side of Zacchaeus, didn't criticise him, or threaten him , but loved and accepted him . The consequence was that Zacchaeus turned his whole life right around . Megan went on further to tell of the inspirational Salvation Army Officer, Danielle Strickland who gets alongside prostitutes and drug addicts. She told also of the #I'll ride with you Twitter Movement , which grew out of the Sydney Siege in December. Then we were all challenged to go further and deeper ourselves, by getting alonside people as Jesus did. There was prayer time and ministry, we all were able to allow and invite the Holy Spirit to help us to move on into this.

Forty years ago when John Davies was vicar of St Michaels Southfields he challenged my husband  .  
You are bringing your baby to be baptised, and you have not been baptised yourself ? 
Thus began the rest of our life. 
My husband  decided after being a churchgoer all his life , part of the congregation of one of the oldest Baptist Churches in London , Battersea Chapel , and by now worshipping near to our home in Wincanton Road that John Davies had a point. No , he had never been baptised . 
And so classes were held in our house. Invite all your friends said John Davies, so we did. We  all realised that our faith was real, but needed to 'come alive '. Our small group became a housegroup, and with the encouragement of more neighbours , Mary and Robert Fuchs of Hambledon Road we not only learned to read our bibles , but also heard about "Baptism in the Holy Spirit'. John Davies tried to deter me from reading Michael Harper and Reg East, but I wasnt having any of it , and sat in my bedroom on 25th March 1977 and prayed 
Lord if there is any more of you I have not got ,I want it now!
Thus began even more of the rest of our life.

So we have much to thank the fellowship of St Michaels Southfields. I was part of the Wives Fellowship, and hungry for all the Bible Studies. I read book after book, went to as many talks as Mary and Robert would take me. (Bishop Cuthbert Bardsley was the first clergyman I ever heard speaking who actually made sense, and I had been going to church all my 30 years).
My husband had known St Michaels all his life, had gone to St Michaels school ,where he had to learn the creed much to the consternation of his baptist parents. His mother had been a 'young wife' in the 40s and 50s, his uncle Arthur  Rowling and cousin Brian had sung in the choir in the David Bubbers days. 
Today we have been back for the first time since we moved away in 1980. I still thank God for Dorothy Thiajaraj and Iona Burchill who prayed  together for my faith to come alive and got alongside the Zacchaeus in me.

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