Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch newsletter 16 August 2020
I had a haircut on Wednesday. You’ll see its aftermath on Sunday morning – some of you, earlier – in the will of the Lord and if the creek don’t rise. Aces and Eights in Tavern Street did the deed, along the road from Gene and Eleanor’s house, and temptingly opposite Dan Murphy (to which temptation I didn’t yield on Wednesday, by the prevenient grace of God). An attraction of the salon (bit posh to call it that, it’s a traditional men’s barber shop) is the resident Staffie, who sniffingly inspects every customer as they walk in. Favoured clients get a lingering Staffie lick.
I used to attempt to disguise a receding hairline by brushing forward what was left. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity, said the preacher’s wife. So off I took myself to Aces and Eights. One look at the increasingly ineffective brushover was enough to elicit from barber Alex, “Mate, yer need a buzzcut”. Later that evening, I told Leisa that I was really tired. She said, it’s probably the haircut, now you know how Samson felt. Hmm, doesn’t Delilah come into the story somewhere? Thursday morning saw me peering in the mirror with a magnifying glass, wondering whether any had grown back during the night.
Of course, it had, some anyway, but so teeny as to be invisible. A few weeks back, we were looking at Jesus’ parables about seeds and sowers. Seeds become grain or flowers or whatever they’re meant to be, but imperceptibly except to a time-lapse camera. The bible is full of examples of people who want to hurry up a natural or spiritual process, but who can’t because the growing process comes from God. St Paul writing of church growth in First Corinthians 3: ‘I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.’ Paul again, in First Corinthians 11, not his finest chapter, in which he veers from one incoherent thought about hair to another, at least agrees with his critics that ‘but everything comes from God’. (This is the passage where he says that women should have their heads covered ‘because of the angels’, as if angels are some sort of celestial seagull). And we are as frustrated about what we think is our failure to grow spiritually, as I am about my shorn hair growing back. But the bible says that growth is happening, ‘from one degree of glory to another’, imperceptibly but inexorably as we ‘contemplate the Lord’s glory’, all of it ‘comes from the Lord who is the Spirit’ (Second Corinthians 3).
So look, God is working his purpose out, as the hymn has it. If we look for growth in our church family and in our own lives, we might not discern it at first glance but it’s happening. All of God. And anyway, Luke 12, even the very hairs of your head are all numbered; so do not be afraid. Works for me 😊