Just A Little One

I’ve been unwell for about 12 days. It started with what I thought was a bout of coughing brought on by something “going down the wrong way” but the coughing continued. Last Wednesday I thought I was getting better but then went down again. On Friday I missed school. Yesterday, Monday, I gave into pressure from Nurse Joanna and went to the doctor.

The doctor confirmed Nurse’s suspicions: I have une petite bronchite, otherwise known as a small dose of bronchitis. I hate to think what une grande bronchite would be like! Oh, and why is it feminine?

Actually, I used to get bronchitis regularly when I was 5 or 6 years old. We were living in Stafford at the time. The doctor said that when we moved away from Stafford, the bronchitis would stop. I had chest x-rays, the lot: nothing else wrong. Sure enough, when we moved to Alsager in South Cheshire (or North Stoke on Trent, depending on your point of view), the bronchitis stopped.

The British and French approaches to General Practice medicine are very different. The default British approach is “It will probably sort itself out before too long, come back if it gets worse.” The default French approach is to throw medications of every shape and size at the nasties and beat them into submission!

So I have stuff to take once a day, other stuff to take twice a day and two things to take three times a day. I am hoping to see a metaphorical white flag of submission waving from my bronchioles soon…

I’ll stay off school until I can sensibly face lessons at 8:35am — at the moment, at this time of the morning I am a coughing and groaning machine, hoping that the little chaps with the hammers in my head will stop for a rest sometime soon. Hey ho…

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Nigel Lee

On Monday 6 June it was time for me to give the méditation in the  “service in class” of my language class. I spoke about the importance of feeding from the Bible, using the coots (see photo below) that are so common around Massy as a visual example.

cootsThe three main points were: 1. children need their parents (baby Christians need one or more spiritual parents to feed them and help them), 2. children need to learn how to feed themselves (baby Christians need to learn how to feed themselves from the Bible and then to teach others the same thing, who will teach others…) and 3. dive with enthusiasm (feed from the Bible with enthusiasm, put some real effort into it!).

Anyway, when I was preparing for this, my mind went back to the man who first showed me how to study the Bible for myself. His name was Nigel Lee, and it was at an Operation Mobilisation training weekend for student leaders. I’m pretty sure it was 1979, I was at Liverpool University and involved in the leadership of the Evangelical Christian Union (CU), Nigel was one of the missioners at the CU Mission that year: as far as I can remember, that was when we met. The weekend was, I think, later in the year.

NigelLeeIt was revolutionary for me and I began to feed voraciously from the Bible.  I’m still going!

Nigel Lee died of cancer on 30 March 2006. I’d like to share some things he wrote around that time:**

“My dislike of hospital dramas in TV is well known in my family. Needles and knives, bedpans and blood tests – they give me the chills. So having to spend ten days in hospital, being operated on for aggressive cancer, was always going to be difficult.

“Do people die of this?” I’d asked the Macmillan nurse. “Oh yes,” she said, beaming at me, as if this was an everyday occurrence. But not to me it wasn’t!

The seriously ill men on my ward were facing their future in different ways, some with anger, some with fear, even despair. At the end of the day, when the visitors had gone, we would talk quietly together.

I work in my spare time as a presenter of a BBC religious programme called The Daily Service. People who listen in are often looking for words of wisdom, or a spiritual ‘connection moment’, even from Radio 4! What had I got to say  now?

I found that Christian faith grew stronger under these circumstances. It’s about hope – not the sort of hope that buys lottery tickets, but a certainty concerning life after death, based on Christ’s explanation of his own resurrection. It’s also about experience. As I had more time to read the Bible, I found the risen Lord stepping off the pages, talking to me about my soul, my relationships and my future. We need anchors like this when life stops being a TV drama and becomes really scary.”

I lost touch with Nigel not long afterwards, as I spent the next years running around the Middle East working as a geologist. But what he taught me has never ever left me. I’ll just have to wait a little while longer to thank him in person.

So, please do learn to feed from the Bible, please do teach others how to feed from the Bible and never underestimate the impact that even the briefest contact with someone else might have.

** Source for photo and text is here. You can find some of Nigel’s audio material here.

Rain

rainIt has been raining here in France. A lot. Really a lot. There have been quite bad floods in a number of places.

I don’t want to minimise the serious difficulties that many people are in because of the rain and floods, but watching the rain, day after day, has reminded me of spiritual rain, the rain of the Holy Spirit. We long for the rain of the Spirit to fall in France, to fall outrageously and superabundantly over the whole country.

Here is a song which celebrates Holy Spirit rain:

Beautiful Rain

Rain
Beautiful Rain, beautiful Rain
Come fall on me

Rain
Beautiful Rain, beautiful Rain
Come set me free

Rain
Beautiful Rain, beautiful Rain
Come fill me up

Rain
Beautiful Rain, beautiful Rain
Flow out from me

Rain
Beautiful Rain, beautiful Rain
Come speak through me

Rain
Beautiful Rain, beautiful Rain
Come work through me
**
Rain
Beautiful Rain, beautiful Rain
Come fall on me
**
Come set me free
**
Come fill me up
**
Flow out from me
**
Come speak through me
**
Come work through me
**
Rain
Beautiful Rain, beautiful Rain…

** means two beats.

You can listen to or download a sung version here.