Positive Commandments

Dr. W.E. Sangster was one of the great leaders of British Methodism in the twentieth century. A renowned preacher, writer and teacher, he was one of the most important voices of Christian hope during the darkest days of England in World War II. He knew personal suffering, and in the last years of his life, lost his voice to an incurable neurological disease. Nevertheless, Sangster was a buoyant spirit and a man of faith who looked for evidences of God’s grace in every place.

Recently, I came across a list of “Ten Positive Commandments” written by Dr. Sangster. In a world dominated by news of war and conflict, political division and toxicity, violence and terror, these positive “thou shalts” are helpful reminders to look for the beauties of each day.

As we enter into the Summer vacation season, I suggest we reflect on these positive commandments as a way of opening our hearts to the beauty all around us.

Thou shalt enjoy this lovely world which God has made; sun, moon and stars; field, flower and trees; wind, warmth and rain.

Thou shalt enjoy the gift of love, from parent, sweethearts, spouse…the love that goes on loving when you are most unlovely.

Thou shalt enjoy the trustfulness of children and their adoring belief that there is nothing you do not know and nothing you cannot do.

Thou shalt enjoy friends, their loyalty and fellowship, their constancy in sorrow and their un-protesting acceptance of your timely help.

Thou shalt enjoy wholesome laughter, the ludicrous incident, and the side-splitting joke.

Thou shalt enjoy art, music, the cinema, literature, eloquence, singing, rhythm, games and animals.

Thou shalt enjoy the privilege of helping others…the poor, the lonely, the aged.

Thou shalt enjoy peace, a peace that is not attached to your circumstances; it shall abide in your heart.

Thou shalt enjoy God…the knowledge that God is there, and that God cares for all.

This Sunday, while we’re away at the Missouri Annual Conference, Randy Perry, a retired United Methodist minister who now resides in Columbia, will be our guest preacher at our 8am Chapel Service and our two Sanctuary Services (9:15 & 10:45). You might remember Randy. He baptized his granddaughter, Lucy, in worship a few months back. Randy has become a valued friend and trusted colleague to me, and I know he will bring an uplifting and inspiring message this Sunday.

A final note. On June 16 we will begin a new Summer message series. The series is titled “FREQUENCY: Tune In. Hear God.” We’ll spend the bulk of the Sundays this Summer exploring the letters to the seven churches in the biblical book of Revelation. We’ll focus on how we “tune in” to God’s voice in our midst, as a congregation and as individual followers of Jesus.

So, as we enter into the season of Summer together, let us tune in, hear God, experience the beauty and share the joy of life with others.

Marshall Byler

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