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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

"It's not over until it's over"

As I type this post, I am on a MegaBus coach travelling from London to Glasgow - after a few days in Amsterdam to celebrate a Silver Wedding Anniversary, and a Graduation in the Randag family in Bloemendaal.

Of course, in my absence, much has happened in the UK.  The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has voted to allow the ordination and induction of practising homosexuals.  This is a move that is designed, I understand, to please all sections of the Kirk - the "revisionists" and the "traditionalists"!  As in most such cases, it may end up pleasing no-one.  The question for many will now be, "For how long can I remain a part of what is rapidly becoming (some would claim, 'has already become') an apostate church?"  For what it's worth, they have my deepest sympathy.  I recall my own situation over the slightly less contentious matter of infant baptism.  I am one of those who may truly claim that "I know what you are going through"!

At the same time, the House of Commons has been debating in the Report Stage of the Marriage (same-sex couples) Bill.  A number of amendments were tabled but, as far as I can make out, all were defeated - even if the Prime Minister had to depend on the support of her Majesty's Opposition.  Even there, a number of Labour members (my own MP included) voted in support of at least one of the amendments, in principled defiance of the Party Whip.

Of course, the newspapers have been providing their usual headline, and article, commentaries.  I have read, on-line, "Gay marriage step closer as bill clears major hurdle" (The Independent); "... gay marriage, which is expected to clear a final Commons vote tonight, remains on track, and same-sex couples should be able to tie the knot as early as next summer." (The Metro);"... the marriage (same-sex couples) bill will now experience a safer journey through parliament." (The Observer).

Now, even although I have learned a lot about it, in recent months, I make no claim to be an expert in Parliamentary procedure.  However, even I know that, while it is likely that the Bill will be passed this evening, at its Third reading, it could well be with a reduced majority.  I know, too, that it then has to be laid before the House of Lords.  I am fully aware that all of the indications are that the Bill will face a much more difficult passage in the Upper House, and that it is by no means guaranteed to be passed there.  It is also my understanding that, because it was in neither the manifestos of the parties who are now so apparently keen to support it, nor in any Queen's Speech, the Parliament Act cannot be invoked.  This, for those who do not know, is a legislative procedure that ensures that the Lords are unable to totally defy the will of the Commons.  Certain newspaper opinion may yet prove to be wrong!  As the heading to this post states, "It's not over until it's over" - and it certainly isn't over yet!

One additional point.  Writing to his young friend, and son in the faith, Timothy, the apostle Paul warns that "... the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths." (II Tim 4:3-4).

"For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt. For land which has drunk the rain that often falls upon it, and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed; its end is to be burned." explains the author of the Letter to Hebrew disciples of Jesus. (6:4-8).

Could it be that the things that we see around us are the very signs that Jesus assured us would be visible for those with eyes to see - signs that Father God is about to wind up this dimension that we inhabit?

Certainly, as someone once said, if God does not come in judgement upon the world today, He would need to apologise to Sodom and Gomorrah!

"Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen." (Rev 22:20-21).

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