One of Zac's regulars, a former violent criminal, brought me a present yesterday.It's an old (1972) Welsh recipe book, and it was so sweet of him. I'm thrilled.
It was another good night in Zac's, with a good crowd of people in. We've finished the study on the life and times of David and last night was an opportunity for feedback, for people to say what they've learned or found useful.
It was a really good discussion with everyone agreeing that the story is one of encouragement: if David could make all the mistakes he did and retain the love of God (although David was punished and did suffer for some of his ways), then there is hope for us all. It was pointed out that even though the events occurred 3,000 years ago, it could just as easily be a 21st century story.
A couple of particularly difficult points were covered:
if we know we can be forgiven does that give us freedom to do anything we want?
if David's story were happening today would we have looked on him so favourably? (He was a bit of an ethnic cleanser after all.)
But I think my favourite bit of the David story was a section with which I was unfamiliar previously. At one point on a battle campaign, some of David's army were too weary to continue so they were left behind while the others went on to fight, win and return with victor's plunder. David insisted, to the displeasure of the troops who hadn't stayed behind, that the booty was to be shared equally between all.
Jesus tells a parable about a land-owner who hires workers at various points in the day and then pays them all the same amount. This is the grace of God: getting what we don't deserve.
And the big question is: did Ric deserve his birthday cake?! Oh, yes, I think so. So we dimmed the lights, sang happy birthday, and he blew out the candle. And the really excellent news is that, on Sunday, we'll be celebrating his rebirth as he's being baptised - in the sea! Brrrr, rather him than me, but I'll be there to watch, all wrapped up, snug and warm as toasty.