I'm rather behind with the blogging as I was busy last week with the Aber conference, which included this year leading a morning prayer meeting. Then towards the end of last week I was smitten with severe toothache - hence no blogging for a while.
Yesterday and last Sunday I was away from the Child's Hill pulpit, where Andrew Lolley was the preacher. On the first Lord's Day I was in Bethel, Aberystwyth with hundreds of others to hear my father-in-law preach on conference Sunday. The next day I also took my usual role as chairman, introducing him briefly before he gave the third address in a series on the intercession of Christ in heaven. He began with the ascension and moved on to Christ's Kingly reign and then his High priestly work. He brought out several good points and made reference to my book on the subject. (He also pointed out that three of us Aber graduates have written on the ascension - me, Derek Thomas and now Tim Chester [with Jonny Woodrow]). Conference Sundays is always great - seeing so many people, especially old friends. A woman came up and gave me a hug. "You remember me?" she said. Thankfully I did at the last moment. She's been living in Africa for 20 years or so and that's a long time. The previous night I had tried to introduce one of the seminar speakers and his wife, a man I see regularly, to someone and utterly failed to capture their names. Embarrassing.
I could have heard Maurice Kinnaird and Mike Leaves elsewhere and I thought about going but I always go to hear Geoff.
Then yesterday we were still in Aber but as I was so unwell with toothache I stayed at home with the toothache. I think that is only the third or fourth time I have had to miss a service since I became a Christian over 40 years ago. Perhaps it is good to get the experience. Geoff prints out his sermons beforehand these days for the deaf and those whose English is limited, etc, so I was able to read that and one of my son's wrote down the hymn numbers for me to look up on his return. I was told about who was there (conferees still in town, holiday makers and some new people, etc) and that Ben Ramsbottom admired Geoff's children's talk. Geoff was giving his 214th sermon on Luke and rounding off a six year project looking at that wonderful Gospel. I was able to get out in the evening and enjoyed hearing the sermon on the end of Romans 9 and meeting plenty of people old and new. One of the church's oldest members, a former deacon who has children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in the church will be buried tomorrow. Ron Loosley was 92 and had been suffering with dementia several years. There is chiefly joy at this release but inevitably some sadness too. It was nice to meet some students still around, including a Nigerian Londoner.