Thursday, February 2, 2017


I have some very good friends.
Of course, the best Friend sticks closer than any brother could (Prov 18:24).
I don't mean dogs - although they're wonderful hahaha! :)
Or the amazing brother lost to us last year (flickr album, youtube elegy, justgiving memorial).
Or Padi's best friend, WV Higham, also gone to be with our Lord.
Nor, this time, do I mean the many so kind friends who I have known through work, study or church over many years.
I am called back to this blog to note the goodness of God in sending migrants into our lives over the last months. If you had told me a few months ago that today I would count Eritreans and Iranians amongst my most esteemed friends... I would not have been able to hide a curious smile of disbelief. These dear people have fled in agonising separation from almost all they held dear, to preserve a future for them and their families, and invest their considerable talents and uncommon nobility of character into my country. But in many instances they leave the frying pan, for the fire. The unimpeachable judiciary have rejected claims for some of my friends' asylum on the most absurd grounds. One had so much evidence of their Christian conversion, only a criminal mastermind could concoct it... and so that is exactly the line his judge took! Other questions included, 'What is the Eucharist?', as if someone who has only ever known other Christians in the micro-house church they narrowly escaped arrest with would be conversant with CofE ritual! Honorably abstaining from applying for membership or baptism was interpreted as suspicious. Can someone please explain to the judges what a Christian is?
Anyway, in the last week or two, we have taken great joy in baptising one Iranian and welcoming another into membership (sound is better quality on this youtube and the simple membership ceremony is followed by an awesome sermon about what a Christian is). I found the prospect of local mass baptism 'less than ideal', and am happy that we have waited, in keeping with what used to be the normal Welsh practice of old, to see the depth of the profession of brothers like Kaveh and Arman. In days when a pall of wicked unbelief has settled upon the hearts of the Welsh, these 'foreigners' are taking heaven by storm. Many British would not have this Jesus to rule over them (Luke 19:14). But these Iranians, despised on many levels no doubt these days, reveal the joy and love of God. What a force for good in our country would a host of these real Christians be - humble, gentle, honest, brave, diligent, full of love towards even their enemies, 'of whom the world was not worthy' (Heb11:38) and the UK is proving we are not worthy of them. They put us to shame. And shame on us if we send them back to their own nations to face certain death, however glorious, as martyrs (that is what Islam requires done to apostates). Hopefully, some of our own digital resources will help in upcoming court appeals. Let's make Britain Great again by giving these guys asylum.
Unjust judges are condemned in the Bible (Ps 82). There is no way of knowing what kind of evidence such people will accept when they are prejudiced. Thankfully, we are all in the hands of God and can commit our dear friends into His almighty care and keeping. Psalm 130 is the one I think of with regard to them:
1 Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.
2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities
I also commend Winslow's 'Soul Depths and Soul Heights' on this Psalm (Grace Gems full text link).

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