During World War II, British Methodist W.E. Sangster wrote his PhD thesis on Christian perfection while also serving as the pastor of Central Hall, Westminster. During the Nazi bombing raids, he and others gathered in the bomb shelter underneath Central Hall's sanctuary. It was in this place and during these trials that Sangster writes, "I filled the hours of the vigil which had still to be kept by thinking on perfection. If that seems a little mad to some who read this, I can only reply that it was part of the way in which I kept sane."
I love the image of a pastor, bombs falling all around him, serving his people and keeping his wits about him by reflecting on holiness.
Wednesday morning my wife and I will drive to Nashville for the New Room Conference, a gathering I've been looking forward to since I left the one in September of last year. It's been an interesting year with many traps and pitfalls along the way. I remain convinced that "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:12) The way I've kept sane, like Sangster, is to think on holiness. Thankfully, opportunities to gather with others from the Wesleyan-Methodist tribe reinforce my delight in these things; they offer a brief reprieve from the battles of life and ministry and reinforce our commitment to the whole gospel.
Whether you attend with us or get a chance to watch the sessions after New Room terminates on Friday, join me in prayer, that no matter what comes our way, we will maintain our joy and our resolve by reflecting on God's holy love.