‘What is this that grieves thee?’

The blog title is a line from a song in the American Shapenote tradition. The song is a message to the human heart, an invitation to exploration, and an invitation to share.

I have to say I’ve been feeling ‘grieved’ for a little while. I’ve been feeling it lately, but it’s not a new feeling. It weighs upon me in the morning, in the day, at bedtime and through the night.

And the thing is, it’s not a ‘trendy’ thing to be grieved about. Seems that some people aren’t jealous for this, exercised to action over it…at least not very obviously! Or very verbally, at least in most of the UK context I live in.

I am grieved about the failure of God’s people, and myself as chief sinner among them, and our lack of passion for the gospel and the glory of God. Let me take away any sense of judgment about others, and instead take the log out of my own eye:

I’ve often appeared more spiritual than I really am; I’ve been more inconsistent in personal prayer that I know is healthy; the Word of God has not always been utmost in my passions; I’ve been careless in speech; my zeal in witness and evangelism has lessened; I’ve doubted the gospel in the fear of the world’s sensitivities; I’ve protected my fragile ego before taking the risk of speaking boldly; I’ve taken my eye off of Christ many times, and this is inspite of living in the cocoon of church leadership. I mean, should I go on?

The bottom line for us as Christians is: do I really live my life in such a way that displays what I really believe? Am I ultimately convinced that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe? Am I a leader who will always choose the ease of being liked and appreciated over fulfilling the prophetic mandate to boldly proclaim Christ and him alone?

And more than that, will I spend the rest of my life in the safe zone of security whilst the church weakens, whilst the voice of prayer fades, the gospel gets watery and the ideas and philosophies of our culture does continued untold damage to the voice of scripture that, in some miraculously weird way, we’ve managed to muffle from our conscience?

You know what? All would seem quite overwhelming if it wasn’t for the fact that God, in his mercy, continues to draw us to himself. It’s never too late to come afresh and say, ‘God, show me your heart. Let me hear your voice. Fill me with your compassion. Give me a dose of fear and honour of your name. Remind me that I’m a dead man walking and allow Christ to reign.’ This isn’t to say that God just overlooks all this. No, his invitation is to repentance; to renewal; to our knees to cry out before him that he might restore us.

How about it? God help us.

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