It was my great privilege to preach last Saturday at a memorial service for our dear friend from Madagascar Ravaka Rajo. The meeting was in Trinity Road Chapel, Tooting. the church which with its neighbour and daughter church Summerstown Evangelical became Liz Rajo's home church after her move to London to study midwifery. The present pastor of Summerstown, Peter Bines, ably chaired and former pastor Colin Paris read Psalm 16. Liz was able to speak about Ravaka in a moving but composed fashion. Robert Strivens and Philip Margetts also spoke respectively on behalf of the LTS, where Ravaka studied 2002-2004, and the Tooting church. Liz's sister Susan read a piece headed The handkerchief. When I saw that title in our programme my heart sank as I thought it was going to be some sentimental Victorian poem but it was actually Spurgeon - see here. I was asked to preach and went to Isaiah 6 as it seems to me that a king has died and we need to look to God at this time, our only help. I thought it interesting to see how the chapter opens out into a call to repent and to preach repentance. I will put the sermon on my sermon blog soon and add a link below. It was good to see so many there, although I know several who wanted to be there could not make it. Liz gave an anecdote that struck me. At A level Ravaka apparently didn't get on too well with English and (being an engineer) asked for more maths instead. How ignorant we so often are of God's purposes and plans for us. We are in his hands every moment. The Tooting fiends kindly organised a tea to follow and it was nice to chat with various people. We hope Liz and perhaps the children too were helped. I noticed a video camera whirring so perhaps it will make its way back to Madagascar. I was very conscious of the folk there who really have lost a king.
Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.