In a brilliant foreword to Dr. Paul Brand’s book “The Forever Feast”, Philip Yancey (that great writer who gave us such books as “Where is God When it Hurts?”) described a prayer meeting he attended in a leper hospital in Carville, Louisiana, at the Brands’ insistence. Yancey, then ‘a punk in his twenties’ confesses to being coerced into singing his first and last solo: a disaster by all accounts. But he describes Paul Brand’s address – quote “to that motley crew of five of us in the choir and eight in the audience” (one of whom was a woman whose artificial leg had fallen off during Yancey’s solo!). He said “It mattered not that we were a tiny cluster of half-dead nobodies in a sleepy Bayou chapel. Paul Brand gave a specially prepared address worthy of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Obviously he had spent hours meditating on scripture and praying over that one sermon.”
Yancey was deeply affected by the sense of values and the humility of one of the world’s great men, not repackaging the same ideas to different audiences, not concerned that so few were present, and that some of those were stone deaf! He spoke as one who truly believed that where two or three were gathered in Christ’s name, Christ himself was present. His very sermon was an act of worship. Yancey admits to hero-worshipping Dr. Paul Brand: “Often I’ve felt like James Boswell, the young apprentice who followed around the great Samuel Johnson, fervently collecting every morsel of his wisdom that fell from his lips.” But it was the Jesus he saw in Paul Brand which was the real magnet.
Jesus said: Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it Matthew 7: 13-14
Deliver us Lord from judging anything or anyone by the standards of this world.
Now read Ezekiel Chapter 34.