Wednesday, June 04, 2008



Back in ’77 (so last century!) I was a vicar – sort of like a one-year internship for pastors. My ‘vicar-Father’ was an Englishman called John Sims who was a superb story teller. Like most story tellers he had an ear for a good story with good application. Here’s one of them.

“A church full of sober Christians in Scotland, on re-examining their Reformation roots, realised that they had lost something over the years – their FREEDOM as Christians. To demonstrate that they were reclaiming their ‘evangical freedom in regard to the Sabbath’ they made a radical decision. They gave themselves permission to play hopscotch after worship each Sunday!

So each Sunday the whole church, the young, the old, the married and the single would draw that familiar shape with its squares in the dirt and they would proceed to have their fun and merriment. And a good time was had by all.

Now there’s nothing like spontaneous joy to draw people to your church and many new folk did come, all of them commenting on this marvellous Christian liberty.

One of their new members, a convert named James, then created a problem for them. HE REFUSED TO JOIN IN THE HOPSCOTCH AFTER WORSHIP. There was much tut tutting, and ‘shame, shame’, and ‘how could he?’ His refusal caused quite a stir, if not turmoil. He was ‘called (hauled) before the elders’ and asked to explain himself. He didn’t like hopscotch he said. And therefore wouldn’t participate. The elders pleaded with him to reverse his decision. He refused. SO THEY EXCOMMUNICATED HIM!

FRED’S COMMENT: I’ve always said to myself, “There’s a sermon in there somewhere.” I’ve not preached it yet. Maybe it will still come. But so easily, so quickly, so devastatingly, can Christian institutions turn Christian freedom into Christian legalism.

Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32

Be Blessed



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