Monday, Monday

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Monday mornings are pretty grim by all accounts, I preach twice a Sunday and most of the pastoral work actually gets done on Sundays.  We try to fill the house with people so we can hospitable, it's terrific just plain exhausting. On Mondays at  8am my wife goes out to work (I know that means for some of you that Ref 21 has finally given up on the gospel) and I'm left in the house, feeling pretty miserable.  I try to read but it's at a snail's pace and preparation equally makes no progress.  I ring a good friend there's normally about 20 minutes of banter but it's a long morning till our Monday lunchtime prayer meeting and then a trip to the pub with the Assistant to debrief the day before.
 
My favourite thing in the summertime on Monday mornings is to join the geriatrics who play tennis at our local tennis courts, they are all in their 70s and 80s.  They fear me coming.  I am the 'Roger Federer' of their world, one of them is so old he can't move more than 2 paces either side which makes my passing shots unreturnable. Recently when I played with them I double faulted, one of the younger ones watching (he's in his early 70s) said 'he is human'. Now, I am 34 years old and certainly below average at tennis, I try not to play people my own age as I get creamed.
 
When I recently told someone about this they gently rebuked me and said 'I need to preach the gospel to myself' on a Monday.What followed was a discussion looking for the sin behind the sin of beating geriatrics mercilessly at tennis.  We went idol hunting. I kept saying 'I'm tired that's why I like to play tennis, I like winning it makes me feel good'. He gave the example that someone lies because it makes him look better and they are not satisfied with their identity in God. Could it be that me wanting to pulverise 80 year olds at tennis is because I'm not satisfied with my identity in Christ?
 
Now I hope I'm not boasting but I understand the gospel of Jesus, I know the gospel of Jesus, I love the gospel of Jesus, I've preached it the day before. I know that nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from all sin, that I am united with him in his death and resurrection,I have been given every spiritual blessing in him, I am seated with him in heavenly places, I belong to his church,  he is coming one day to usher in a new creation of which I am a part. I know that to belong to his kingdom is joy. It is an amazing thing of which I will never grow tired of. I believe it on a Sunday and I still believe it on a Monday morning.
 
My problem is this, I'm still shattered on a Monday, I still feel drained, I probably haven't preached very well the day before. Preaching the gospel to myself doesn't suddenly mean I have more energy or am able to knuckle down to hard study for next week. So for me to go and batter some geriatrics at tennis is my way of enjoying creation, of rejoicing that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof and of resting! 
 
There is an over realised eschatology in people thinking the gospel is a formula to suddenly cure all our ills but we live our Christian life in tension, glorious joy but also frustration and suffering and tiredness. We live in a fallen universe where even creation groans let alone ministers on a Monday morning. Sometimes we have to live with it not analyse it!
Posted October 3, 2010 @ 4:06 PM by Paul Levy
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