I’d like to share a book with you that has blessed me but first of all as a preamble can I say that I believe our world is going through a period that is so unique. Never in history can I see a time where the entire world is in a form of grief and loss at the same time. This has to have a forever effect on recovery and the future. As well as this , I believe most people’s have been and many are still in a state of hyper vigilance. A state that keeps our bodies and minds tense even if we can identify it. A state that underlies our days do as we pile any other stresses on top which can cause our body and mind tremendous drain. As this begins to release , recovery causes a payback or that tension and we find that having been strong and courageous for so long we now feel vulnerable and exhausted. As I would say, anyone can hold a brick above their head for 5 minutes but what happens when we hold it there for a day or a month?

Now to the book. “ Gentle and Lowly “ by Dane Ortlund through the Reformers Bookshop.

Always good to start with an affirmation in the book by Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon points out that in the 89 chapters of the 4 gospels there is only one place where Jesus tells us about His own heart. Matthew 11:28-30,

“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

It has been so good to hear our pastors Reg and Andy preach through these verses in recent sermons shedding insightful teaching on the passage.

The book makes it clear that the wrath of Christ is not at odds with the mercy of Christ, but when it comes to sinners and sufferers, the true humanity of Christ as exposed in all of scripture is particularly helpful.

The book helps us to see Jesus Christ in scripture. In His compassion, His gentle dealings, His heart to never cast out, His friendship, His loving discipline, and His richness in mercies every day brings out a lavish Saviour and Lord who redeems and sanctifies us to be wholly acceptable before God.

The book shares that for the older saints and the children in our church that even though sound doctrine and a call to obedience is crucial, the deeper reason they seem content is that they have been won over in their deepest affections by a gentle Saviour.

Another absolute encouragement for sinner and sufferer alike is the realisation that the Jesus we meet in the gospels is the very same Jesus who is still feeling compassion for us today (pg 103):

“His humanity once taken on, will never end.”

Looking at the friendship of Christ the book shows through scripture how we have

“a companion whose embrace of us does not strengthen or weaken depending on how clean or unclean, how attractive or revolting, how faithful or fickle, we presently are.”

Looking at the fact that Jesus is the embodiment of who God is, in Jesus we see heavens eternal heart walking around on two legs in time and space.

I would highly recommend this book to your reading list as an encouragement to you and your ongoing growth in compassion in the likeness of Christ.

Jennifer Willis

(Church counsellor & 9:45am Congregation)