This time last week (last Tuesday) saw my dream of being a NWA steward (insert sarcastic tone yourself) come true. I was given my prestigious high visibility vest which, if I may say so, brings out the colour in my hair. We were informed that there were in actual fact not enough high vis to go around, and I couldn’t help comparing my situation to that of stories we hear on the news of soldiers not having enough rifles to go around. Well, I knew that we stewards were going to face a scary week of not enough high vis and feared the worse. Thankfully we managed to share well enough, apart from Spanish Joel, whom I’m pretty sure loved his high vis so much he slept in it.
So with the high vis crisis sorted I began my duties in the Grand Marquee, not Marquee 1 or Bonga Wonga (or its new PC name of the beach club) but the Grand itself. What an honor! I would be posted in this location for the week, the centre of NWA, where the main talks would be held. A massive 2,000 plus venue, left in the very much incapable hands of me, and several other Relay workers. I cannot help but think they hadn’t thought this through.
From this a team was forged, as we liked to call it; Team Ethnic. packed with Welsh, Scots and the odd potato lover this surely was a recipe for disaster. Thankfully we had old hand, head steward Sarah manning (or should I say womaning) the ship. Alongside her we had vetrans in old John and Rolf Harris looky likey.
My first job in the glamorous marquee…clean all the seats. What joy! Only a couple of thousand of them after all.
It was this location that helped to encourage me in the week. I was priviliged to hear the morning Bible readings, preached by Hugh Palmer on 1 Thessalonians, and the adult and student celebrations with a variety of different preachers looking through the Psalms. What a great line up.
I was challenged by many things, but I thought something that Palmernator said was really helpful. We all ask each other what kind of church do you go to? It’s a common question. And I am sure that a lot of time we might answer with, “It’s a bible believing church.” Great answer. But Hugh Palmasan challenged us as to whether we are actually Bible living churches, or at the very least striving to be so. There is a difference between living and believeing. Great challenge Hugh.
For me, one of the standout sessions was on Psalm 42 and 43, looking at times when we are struggling or suffering. It was such a great encouragement, looking at these two Psalms and looking at the truth. We need to Council ourselves, we need to remind ourselves of the Gospel and we must come to God, we must come to His alter.
But there was a harsh challenge. When we are going through times that aren’t too bad, when life seems to be ok humanly speaking, we can be in a worse place in terms of the Gospel. When we are enjoying worldly things we can be tempted not to call on Gods name, not to preach the Gospel to ourselves. If we are honest, would we settle for a tidy life without much of God, or would we be prepared to suffer for Christ, and in doing so know him more? We need to be honest, and we need grace more than we will ever know. But I pray that you and I would both desire God more than anything. Pray it.
I have decided to finish this post with a poem. It was played at NWA during the Psalm 42 and 43 sermons, and it was written by a Relay Worker, Performed by another Relay worker and filmed by yet again another Relay worker. Now, with my little talent or ability, I am shamelessly getting in on this and claiming to be yet another Relay worker showing the video. Shameful I know, but I am going to claim that. You can watch it here