Last Friday we were all sitting in a box in the Royal Albert Hall. It was a schools matinee performance of classical music, but it lived up to its “spectacular” label. It was fantastic. We were in a box because of the high adult to child ratio (i.e. homeschoolers!) Down below us were thousands of school children, many of the girls wearing head coverings, most of which probably had never been in a building bigger than their school hall. What a show we all had! Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Welsh Guards brass band, a few stunningly impressive soloists. When the music started, the lights were spectacular and the whole effect generated gasps and cheering from the amassed crowds of children. Normally it would have been annoying, but actually it was very touching – an extravaganza beyond anything they’d ever experienced. As I sat there I thought about when the musicians had rehearsed . . . that morning? For a few weeks? Actually, more like for a lifetime. But compared to that, what will heaven be like? So stunningly impressive, prepared for two millennia, creativity without limit, yet not totally alien to our experience of life here on earth. Unlike the concert, everything will pale into insignificance compared to the central figure. The conductor was good last week, but when we see the Lord, we’ll all worship and the gasps and sheer joy will be for Him, not just the surroundings, the effects, the lights, the music. For now the question is probably this – who will get the gospel to these thousands of school children across London?
(I should also mention another abiding memory – Joel was sat on a raised chair next to me. I restrained him via a belt loop in his jeans and he was sat cross-legged and contented. With thumb in mouth and the other four fingers raised he was conducting – with those fingers, and with his other hand, all with a head-swaying motion. Every time he noticed me watching him, he’d stop. But when he felt unobserved, he’d sway, conduct, and sometimes be singing along with the operatic pieces. What a delight to see him totally enjoying the experience!)
After that concert I rushed across town, had a good planning meeting, then back to Cranham for the weekend of ministry. This was a blessing, as were the two days with UCCF staff in Southampton. Yesterday we had a family day – decluttering, swimming, and a meal out. Today I have to get my overdue notes to the place I’m going in nine days time . . . they need to translate everything.
So thanks for praying for us. In the extra busy times we realise how important it is to not be running in our own strength. This weekend is the culmination of a week of outreach here and across the country. Please pray for eternal fruit here and elsewhere. Perhaps some of those children might even hear the gospel this weekend, somewhere, somehow.