REPORT ON THE SOUTH OF ENGLAND
AGRICULTURAL SHOW AT ARDINGLY
By: Michael Hobbis, CW Committee Member
The South of England Agricultural Show this year was held from the 6th – 8th June. As usual, Christian Watch took a stand near to the fairground section. We choose this position each year, since not only is it next to a busy thoroughfare, but it is an area where there are many families with young children. This year was no exception and we had the opportunity to contact quite a good number of youngsters with Gospel literature.
Sadly, the attitude of apathy which is now prevalent in society at large was reflected in the response of many adults. While many took the good literature we offered, conversations were few and far between. We were, however, refreshed by several Christians, some with families, who encouraged us in the work and gave their support to David Ansell, Marcus Brockes and myself, who were manning the stand.
The Lord directed us into some, may we say, quality contacts. One example was on the Friday evening, quite late, towards the close of the Show for that day. I was considering closing the tent, as others around were also doing, but felt compelled to stay a little longer. Just before finally going home, a young woman, who seemed to be thankful that we were still there, very enthusiastically started searching through the booklets on our table. She said how pleased she was that we were at the Show and that, while she knew she was saved, she had lost all the joy of her salvation. What could I suggest to help her as she had been praying earnestly and sought unto God.
Providentially, a few days previously, I had been reading a brief article by Francis Ridley Havergal on this very subject and so related to her what I had read. This seemed to be of benefit to her and she bought several books before going on her way happily. Let us pray that she is restored to full joy in the Lord. Often, we become jaded and formal in our faith and need to remember how we first came to the Lord and the joy we felt, which is a means of refreshing and enlivening us again. “Where is the blessedness I knew, when first I saw the Lord? Where is the soul refreshing view of Jesus and His Word…?” Unbelief and formality creep into our hearts sometimes.. .so subtly and deaden us.
Other quality conversations took place, some with non-Christians, and while infrequent, we were thankful for them.
Jews require a sign
“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness.”
(1 Corinthians 1:22,23)
The mystery of the cross can be received only by faith. To the Jews it was a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, it is the power of God and the wisdom of God. When, then, we can believe that the Son of God took part of our flesh and blood out of love and compassion for our souls; that there being no other way which even heaven itself could devise, no other means that the wisdom of God could contrive whereby sinners could be saved, but by the death of the cross, then the mystery shines forth with unspeakable lustre and glory. The shame, the ignominy, what the Apostle calls the “weakness” and the “foolishness” of the cross disappear, swallowed up in a flood of surpassing grace; and faith views it as a glorious scheme of God’s own devising, and of the Son of God’s approving and accomplishing.
Viewed in this light how glorious it appears, that by suffering in our nature all the penalties of our sin, Jesus should redeem us from the lowest hell and raise us up to the highest heaven. How full of unspeakable wisdom was that plan whereby He united God and man by Himself becoming God-man; empowering poor worms of earth to soar above the skies and live for ever in the presence of Him who is a consuming fire. How glorious is that scheme whereby reconciling aliens and enemies unto His heavenly Father, He summons them, when death cuts their mortal thread, to mount up into an eternity of bliss, there to view face to face the great and glorious I AM; to be for ever enwrapped in the blaze of Deity, and ever folded in the arms of a Triune God.
It is this blessed end, this reward of the Redeemer’s sufferings, bloodshedding and death, which lifts our view beyond the depths of the fall and the misery of sin, as we see and feel it in this miserable world. It is this view by faith of the glory which shall be revealed which enables us to see what wisdom and mercy were in the heart of God when He permitted the Adam fall to take place. It is as if we could see the glory of God breaking forth through it in all the splendour of atoning blood and dying love, securing to guilty man the joys of salvation, and bring to God an eternal revenue of praise.
J. C. Philpot
Through Baca’s Vale