Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
As the first year of the third millennium comes to its end, many will reflect on whether their expectations have found fulfilment. At the beginning, everything was centred in the Millennium - the Millennium celebrations, the parties, fireworks, the Dome, even the Millennium Prayer. On the human level it was all ‘fantastic’. Nothing would spoil it. How mistaken much of it now seems. The Dome seems to epitomise the whole story. As someone has said, ‘It is more like DOOM than DOME’. And how godless it all has been!
We also are able to reflect on another year with our publications. It gives us cause for thought. It has been our aim, by God’s grace, to provide ministry that is relevant to the spiritual needs of the time. The fellowship we have enjoyed, both with writers and readers, gives us cause for thanksgiving and praise. May this long continue.
Included in this issue are two articles which may, on the surface, seem contradictory - yet on closer reading are seen to complement each other. The overview of Ecclesiastes portrays the emptiness of life without rising higher than the earthly and materialistic. A spoilt product of prosperity, having everything, could say, ‘all is vanity, futility, and vexation of spirit’. Another translation puts it as chasing after wind. The other article, ‘Is there something better?’ lifts us to higher values, and speaks of greater possibilities of a life that is ‘hid with Christ in God’, Col. 3. 1-3; the contrast surely says all.
At year’s end, as we review our ways, is life marked by FULNESS or FUTILITY? In John 4, we are given the picture of a solitary Saviour sitting on Sychar’s well. Then we watch as another lone figure comes with an empty water jar. The conversation which ensues is rich in meaning, in the context of the world’s emptiness. Out of this encounter, we hear the Saviour say, ‘Whoso drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whoso drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst’, 1-14. Perhaps the most significant comment of the record lies in the words, ‘the woman left her waterpot’.
Centuries before this, the Lord had said to His people, through Jeremiah the prophet, ‘For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewn them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water’, Jer. 2. 13.
Do we get the picture? The ‘springs’ and ‘streams’ from which we derive our spiritual refreshment and strength, will be evident in every department of our Christian lives. Are our assemblies desert places, arid, stagnant, devoid of spiritual power and blessing? What about our gospel? Is it offered in the fulness of the blessing of Christ? May God grant to us to ‘drink deeply’ of His grace. The year ends! God has been good to us. ‘His be the praise!’