Tuesday 14 March 2017

Screwtape’s sermon on mission Sunday

My dear devils, it is a privilege to be able to reflect with you for a few minutes on the Great Commission we have received from Our Father Below.

Before we come to our text this morning, though, we must face facts. The Enemy’s followers are stubbornly obedient to his supposedly ‘great commission’ and reports from many parts of the world are enough to put fear into the heart of the stoutest tempter.

There are some encouragements of course. We have great success in encouraging the thought that repetition counts for more than definition. Incessant talk about mission need not trouble the heart of the meekest tempter if it is never defined. Indeed there is great sport to be had seeing what harmless activities can be smuggled under that label. 

Nevertheless, in some quarters The Enemy’s Word holds fast and they not only concern themselves with the true mission but (most regrettably) they have also been taught by that Word to pray for workers for that harvest field. This is most serious. As we know, The Enemy takes strange delight in this and indulges his infantile children in a most unseemly way.

What then is to be done? You might think the answer lies in distracting them from this task but I say let them pray. Indeed, our text today teaches us not hinder the little children. Turn with me to Mark 9:38.

You recall the context: The Enemy’s Son has sent them out to spread the Bad News but when they return they give the most wonderful report:

 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

Delicious isn’t it? Do you see? We have nothing to fear from His disciples praying Matthew 9:38 prayers if we can teach them to think Mark 9:38 thoughts. Workers can go into the harvest and have very great success, but it is no matter. Because their labours can produce a very great harvest for us. All we need to do is sow that thought: “not one of us.”

In every patient and congregation there will be ample material to work on:

As The Enemy gathers subjects from different cultures and classes (where does this perverse love of diversity come from?!) it is a simple matter to awaken old loyalties and rivalries. 

As his subjects gather themselves to work in some area of the harvest field let them think that only their methods are proper, or that their small corner of some field is really the whole. Let them acknowledge only their efforts as ‘strategic’ (may Our Hellish Father bless the demon that first brought that thought to their minds!) and let them pray, but only for their labours. That way, with only a little effort, they can pray for His glory but all the while seek their own. If we only remember these things, we can be of good cheer, for the harvest will be plentiful.