|Molvolio at the RSC|
Readers of this blog may be surprised to read this particular post.
Yesterday I made a special deal of my wife's birthday!
I must add, immediately, that it was not a "special" birthday, numerically, speaking, if you know what I mean.
The reason readers will be surprised is because I don't do birthdays very much.
Why? For very good biblical reasons.
In our easy-going western church Christians will sadly miss a prayer meeting or a Bible study or serving in some vital ministry to celebrate a birthday. Instead of moving the birthday to another evening, if it's in our power to do so, or saying "I'm sorry I have a very important prior commitment", Christians in our laid-back culture miss fellowship and prayer meetings far too easily.
Our love for Christ and our love for his people is so small these days.
Missing fellowship is not good for us, and it discourages others in the group.
Can we really imagine the first Christians emailing the home group leader "Sorry, I can't make fellowship evening, it's my brothers birthday today." Somehow I don't think so. The Anabaptists set one historical example which we can compare ourselves to and encouraged each other to meet 4-5 times a week.
And we read in Acts 2:46, "Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts." The Bible is our benchmark, not contemporary culture.
So for these very good sound biblical reasons, I tend to pay very little attention to birthdays. Someone has to move in the opposite direction to drag the pendulum away from one side.
After saying all of that, this little "rule" is mine and mine alone. No-one else has to follow it, for in Christ we are totally free from man-made rules, and I am sure that one day I will break this rule for the sake of love.
But last night I took my wife to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon to watch Twelfth Night together. We enjoyed a lovely meal at Wetherspoons beforehand (The Golden Bee, if you are nosy) and settled in for a 2 hour 20 minute performance.
Having been brought up without TV or films, I struggle to catch everything in plays or films, and when the language is KJV I find it even more difficult, but I loved the character Molvolio, played superbly by Adrian Edmondson (his debut at the RSC). The play is worth watching to see him alone act, in my humble opinion.
Molvolio is set up to believe that a particular woman is in love with him. He finds a letter written in letters that seem to come from her hand instructing him to dress up in certain (deliberately strange) ways and act in certain ways if he loves her and wants to woo her. It's all a brilliant set-up!
Well he follows the letter to a T, makes his appearance before the woman and a series of very funny scenes unfold, superbly acted by the cast. We had some good laughs together! His hopes are of course dashed and his strange behaviour rewarded with derision and prison. The cruel joke is eventually exposed.... No more spoilers.
Husbands and wives need time out
But seriously, Christian husbands and wives need to spend time together and a "date night" is one way to do that. Go somewhere different, see something unusual, talk about something extraordinary. And on the way, in the car, you can pray!
Yvonne and I have been married for 29 years, and she is, after salvation, God's greatest and most precious gift to me, and I thank God for her.