Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tales of the Visit of a Reformed Pastor to Limerick: Part IV

On Saturday, amidst widespread flooding, the like of which Ireland has not seen in recorded history, we drove to Kilkee with the Stewarts. The weather was thoroughly filthy as we drove (though the roads were empty, and not flooded), but when we arrived, the sky was blue and clear - even sunny. We walked up to one headland across the rocks at the shore (only slipping occasionally, and amidst a half-hearted ecological commentary by myself), and as we reached there, the wind suddenly grew very strong and cold, and thick black clouds were encroaching and rolling in with relentless speed. We walked somewhat briskly back to the cars in the bay, as the sky light up with lightning and was rocked with mighty thunder. As soon as we arrived at the cars, the heavens opened with torrents of massive hailstones.

So, in that atmosphere we studied the song of Deborah and Barak in Judges - which was peculiarly fitting. As hailstones gathered on the back window, Rev. Stewart was drawing maps of Israel with the condensation on the windscreen. This is an amazing piece of Scripture, which details how God destroyed Israel's enemies, and killed the enemy by the hand of a woman, and how some tribes helped, and others did not but just had great meditations of heart about it (i.e. appointed a study committee to delay long enough so that they are too late to be of any help whatsoever), and how some were cursed for their unwillingness to assist, while others were blessed who gave their very lives in the effort. I couldn't help thinking about all kinds of things this applies to. It was a great personal warning to me too.

As we finished another section introducing Gideon, the weather cleared up and we walked along the opposite headland, and eventually returned to a great meal. I'm not sure but, I think it was possibly that day (or the previous week) in which we spoke at length about our various past adventures in various Christian groups and how things had panned out according to God's gracious providence, and how God gathered us into a true church and delivered us from all that.

The final Lord's Day that the Stewarts were here involved two worship services again, and this time both on Romans 11 (7-8 about the hardening of the largest part of Israel and 9-10, the prayer of David against the reprobate, that their table [which some have mistakenly argued is "common grace"!] would be a snare to them, etc). In the morning we met another friend who came to the morning service and afterward told us all about his home country. We also were able to have some more Bible studies together in Judges. After the evening worship service, we had a discussion about the meaning of the word "world" with another friend who came along (see this article!), and afterwards the Stewarts left, with our plan to visit Ballymena briefly the next weekend to see Prof. Hanko and his wife. An extra bonus was getting to catch up with Francesco De Lucia, a Italian translator of Reformed literature.

So, this has been an eventful time, and what amazes me most is how sinful I can be even when God is so gracious, and even when I can see this so clearly. But I am persuaded that Christ who began a good work, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6).

Sam W.

FIN :)

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