Living Beyond Ourselves 

OK a brief football reference, then I will move right on, honest. 

So, Wayne Rooney is the leading goalscorer for his club, Manchester United and his country. He has won every trophy there is to win in the game at club level and has scored crucial goals in the run up to that. Yet for all those accomplishments there are some who are not convinced he really lived up to his potential. A friend of mine who supports United (keep praying, keep fasting), suggests that Rooney sacrificed himself for the greater good of the team he played for. Whilst others progressed to bigger and better things, he remained even as his role diminished, but he persisted and made himself available in whatever position he was called to play. 

Beyond football, there are some really good examples of folks who know what it is to live sacrificially to advance the cause of the wellbeing of humanity. The best examples I have found are from those who do not need and have never sought the limelight or needed the accolades for their efforts. Their reward is in their faithfulness and desire to serve. They are happy to see others flourish even if they are forgotten in the celebration. 

The heart of the servant living beyond themselves is a great way to see what it is to follow Jesus. He who laid His life down for His friends and did it so they would know what it was to serve and to love to the degree far greater than any love seen before. We follow in that way by seeing others around us, however flawed we are,  as possible friends rather than potential foes. In the light of the possibility simply exploring how to be a platform for the other to flourish in all they could do to be a blessing to the world. 

Part of being that platform is to invite them to consider this example of endless and selfless love that can make those who feel like the least be treated like they’re the most. Most precious and valuable in the eyes of a loving Father. Not for their egocentric boost, but so they can join in the joy of sharing this great news in deed and truth at work, at home, at college, on the bus, in the coffee shops (whilst drinking orange juice, obviously), in the park, sitting next to the homeless beggar in the city centre, watching the classic with the previously lonely widow who never thought anyone cared, supporting the child with severe learning difficulties on the brink of being excluded from another school, standing up for justice and righteousness for the poor and marginalised in the community. All of that not to draw attention to yourself, but point the light on Jesus. 

Whether Rooney really did sacrifice his career to advance the cause of his teammates will remain a point of contention. What is irrefutable is that God in Christ showed us how we can live in a way where others experience the amazing love of God. That is the way of living beyond ourselves. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 136 – Enduring Love 


There is a song called, Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong. The sentiments of the song may appear rather cheesy to some, but amongst those lyrics is a sense of love that has enduring power. 

That theme of enduring power in love dominates this Psalm. The love of God described here takes on epic proportions because it is a love that has last the ages. From creation to Kingdom formation, the enduring love of God – His mercies ever extended – declares His faithfulness and commitment in every circumstance. 

This enduring love restores, it overcomes, it guides and leads through the wildernesses to lands flowing in milk and honey. It sees a people revel but never loses hope. It is not a sentiment, it is not a feeling, it’s far more than a force, this enduring love expresses the character of God Himself. 

This is not a love exclusive to a people group in a given period of history. Echoes and effects of this love can be felt throughout the world through all time. Even now this enduring love transforms lives and has the greatest power in the universe. A power that lift people up to where eagles fly on to a mountain high. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 119 – Life in the Law of the Lord

Law, Word, Statutes, Precepts, Decrees, Commands and Promises. 

Seven words used often in NIV in this Psalm to express what had been stated in the first Psalm. That the man is blessed who delights in the Law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night. That blessing is expressed in suffering and hardship, that blessing is expressed against significant opposition to that delightful Law. That blessing is evident in every season of life because it is not a mere desire to be a do-gooder or to hit the right number of points. What underpins it is a desire to know and love the good Lord who has given this good Law. He has created us and in Him is everything needed to truly live not just hope to survive or blunder from one issue to the other. 

The longest Psalm in the collection merited a day and night to consider it and highlight key verses from it, which I endeavoured to do throughout the day. The main things I emerged with was just how crucial love, desire and focus is on the Word of God. And also how that love is not for text or legality but to embrace a relationship with the good God who in His goodness shows the way in His Word to enjoy life if we have the heart to turn to Him love what He loves and despise what He despises. 

That’s a lifetime commitment, but it’s also one that we see personified in the One who fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. It’s dynamic life changing encounters with the God who speaks and as we hear and respond accordingly do we too can live to praise Him and know Him more. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 45 – A Love Psalm 

It’s difficult to believe, but there was no deliberate planning for today. That remains the truth, however, that on this date we explore a Psalm that takes a different path to many of those that have been written to this point. 

Adoration and preparation seen in this Psalm of royal love. Fascinating to consider in what it says about the relationship and how it informs our approach to the most important relationship of all … 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

December Thanks #22: Intimacy 

One word of great importance that was jeopardised was the word intimacy.

So precious and meaningful is that word that it is open to misinterpretation and abuse. Thus I am particularly thankful that this concept has been emphasised in the last year.

The type of relationship God has always desired with me is an intimate one. Not just deep in a cerebral way, but a degree of holistic depth that sees me desperate to be known and to know Him. Even up to this time there’s an invitation to know God more truly and deeply in a way that I have not known Him before and in the light of that worship Him, adore Him and open myself more to being shaped by Him to reflect Him for His glory.

This desire for intimacy with God propels me to desire intimate relationships with others. I am learning the importance of that divine intimacy being the basis for human intimacy. As a result there have been incidents and insights in just how capable we are to enjoy those truly intimate relationships. Ones that see each other eager to serve the other, understand the other, give to the other from a pure heart.

This is so precious that it can be and has been disrupted,, but the divine love that is its source remains greater and stronger than those disruptions. For that I am forever grateful.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

December Thanks #03: Friends 

Everybody needs somebody.

Twenty years ago I was a student at Essex University. It was the first time I lived away from home. I was far from my family and there was no one I knew in the area. Everything was new. It was all weird for me. I had no idea what to do.

For the first year of my time at university I had little idea about much and quite often I would keep myself to myself. Thankfully, however, one of the first things that happened as I settled in my room in the halls of residence was come across Lloyd Clarke. We lived in the same floor and set of flats. He was one of the first people I met there. He was in his first year too. He did a lot to help me settle into life at the university as someone else getting used to something new. I enjoyed hanging about with Lloyd. He was a great conversationalist and very funny indeed. It was through Lloyd that I was introduced to a wider range of music and it was through Lloyd that I came across the student radio station that would be a massive part of my time at the university learning and loving broadcasting, producing, writing, editing and some of the inner workings of media. All of that was great and that was down to the friendship I developed with Lloyd Clarke. He was a very good friend.

Twenty years after our first meeting we met again. He took the time to come and visit me and it was quite something to see him and his son, Gethin. They were a blessing to my household. Lloyd is loved by everyone in my family who have come across him. My Mum won’t stop singing his praises. Even my brother remembers him, which for David is very impressive. Now my children have already grown very fond of him and his loveable son. It’s a great pleasure to be able to show my children my friend who helped me tremendously during my university years.

Lloyd is a great reminder that everybody needs somebody. Before Lloyd my years at school earlier had never really had me establish close and tight friendships. I envied my brother for that capacity he had to develop a deep friendship. I had people who I liked a lot and had some good conversations with people – but deep friendships were thin on the ground. Lloyd and I didn’t go profoundly deep in our friendship, but the bond was real and true. For him to still remember and regard me to choose to visit me says much about his character and the nature of the friendship.

What’s all the more remarkable is that Lloyd will do what a number of other people who have claimed to be my friend have not done. Choose to invest time in me. I am very grateful for that and it has highlighted one of the key ways in which I treasure and seek to develop friendships that have come up subsequently. Those relationships mean something because of the time invested in each other. I love finding out about people and giving them the space to express themselves whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. I appreciate their capacity to share themselves and I endeavour to reciprocate.

Twenty years after I first met Lloyd there are other friendships that I have developed. Even this year there have been several that have been started with much promise and potential in them. I am hugely grateful to God for these relationships as they do much to help me in different aspects of my life. For all of those real, deep and meaningful friendships, I will always highly regard and admire that friendship with Lloyd Clarke that started all those years ago. God has given me connections that help me learn to love and respect His brilliant creation.

Everybody needs somebody and wherever I go, God gives me somebody. For that I am forever grateful.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden