What does New Horizon mean to Stephen Cave? Turns out that some related business took him to a local hotel yesterday afternoon. While he was there, who should walk in but the newly crowned British Open champion, Darren Clarke. Complete with the Claret Jug! Cue a photo of the face of New Horizon with the famous old trophy!
If that was fun, the sorrow was the sorrow of brothers and sisters in North Korea. Andy and Emma Dipper from Release International were with us to talk and pray for this nation where an estimated 6 million of the 24 million population are on the brink of starvation. We watched a video interview with a man who had suffered in a prison camp. Andy talked to us about campaigns, on behalf of our brothers and sisters, to influence the ambassador in London. Emma had us stand and form a chain across the tent as she led us in prayer. Hundreds of people left with special North Korea armbands as reminders.
Tonight was the first of Vaughan Roberts’ four talks on the book of Proverbs. Vaughan (who is Welsh, which allowed Stephen Cave’s pointed observation about English golfers to wash past) is rector of St Ebbe’s in Oxford, a church named after a 7th century Northumbrian convert. Any excitement among the twenty-something girls at the news of his being single will have been tempered by the news that he has been on staff at his church for twenty years, making him older than he looks!
Proverbs is a book about how to do life well. Contrary to the voices that tell us it is folly to follow Jesus, it is the way of wisdom.
While much of the opening 9 chapters are framed as the advice of a father to his sons, chapter 8 focusses on wisdom herself, and her appeal.
- Wisdom is foundational. Wisdom predates everything and was there at the beginning. Popular contemporary wisdom tells us to look within to make sense of life; wisdom points us to the Creator.
- Wisdom is practical. There is no room for the spiritual/secular divide of pietism. In Derek Kidner’s words, wisdom “puts godliness in working clothes.”
- Wisdom is moral. God’s wisdom may be pragmatic, but it is always principled. We live in a fundamentally moral universe. If we remove God, we lose our values. If we break moral laws, we suffer.
- Wisdom is relational. It will bring us into fellowship with God. Proverbs 8 talks about wisdom in a way that suggests that this may be more than just a personification of one of God’s characteristics. In fact, key New Testament passages about Jesus echo some of the language of this chapter. The meaning of the universe is not a philosophy, but a person: Jesus Christ.
Although the world has conditioned us differently, we are made to thrive in relationship with God, as fish are made to thrive in water.