Our friend in ministry Michael Ross Watson went to be with the Lord earlier in August this year. This is definitely a case of Heaven being the richer and us, humanly speaking, being the poorer. Do remember Esther and the immediate family – and their worldwide family of sons and daughters in Christ.
All of us who knew Michael will have a plethora of anecdotes and memories of him. I’m so glad that Dad and I were with him a few months ago at a church in Shropshire. I first met him in 1985, when the Lord had surprised us by asking us to go and spend a week with an elderly lady who we had never met down south. And there, also on holiday and staying in a caravan in the garden were Michael and Esther. He made a great impression on us. He was suffering from a stomach ulcer that we were able to pray for; he then joined us at the 1986 MFOT conference in the Winter Gardens in Malvern, subsequently becoming a greatly appreciated and regular speaker. That first year, Michael spoke powerfully on brokenness, and on overcoming fear. He and Esther had suffered much from Islamic opposition, and called on people to be willing to take their stand on this issue. That night the wind changed direction, bringing in quite a dense layer of sand from the Sahara, that coated all the cars in Malvern.
It was back in 2009 that Rosalind and I, together with Robert Eggleston and an exceptionally talented group of musicians, recorded the Connections CD. This track speaks of seeking to be worthy successors of those heroes of the faith who have preceded us to Heaven.
The words are powerful, and the music, by Linda Louisa, whom Michael and Esther loved dearly, is stunning.
In those days we recorded everything live, without the benefit of the multi track equipment we now have access to, and so the balance is not quite as we would wish. Please don’t let the sound of my voice deter you from drinking deeply!
The roll call grows of those whose blood no longer flows and who have moved on to higher things.
I thank and praise You, Lord, for the memory of those heroic ones who have passed at last beyond the ravages of time and dust to take their place in the great communion of saints.
May we play our part now to the full, so that we ourselves will be no less when our time comes.
Lord God of History,
Author of all Mystery,
How fiercely the enemy seeks to smother the wisdom of every other time,
so that each generation struggles up the climb,
unable to perceive the clear connections that deeper reflections would bestow.
Lord, hold our spirits fast to lessons from the past,
and then display true skill to implement Your will.
God of our fathers,
those pioneers and settlers,
conquerors and seers,
when my lens is true I can begin to view the links and patterns
that perpetuate Your blessing as well as those that cause such strife in my life;
strong invisible threads that Heavenly hands have meshed together
but which fleshly fingers seek to pull asunder,
and demonic claws to shred.
Free us from the deadweight of diseased inheritance,
So that we, Your beloveds, can inherit the blessings bestowed in prayer
by those who learned to weep.
God of History,
when I am feeling daunted and taunted and inclined to snap,
help me call to mind the memory of Your many past deliverances,
and to trust that You will do the same with the seeds I give you now.
God of explanation,
drop Your plumb line and open wide the lens that reveals our hidden pride,
and the weaknesses that are our special temptation.
Then let the searchlight of Your love enable us to face our deep seated dissonance
so that we may shine like the brightest stars and rise above our ever present scars.
To those that are crying out for Grace be assured there is no drought in heaven.
No lessening of God’s seventy times seven.
You are indeed the God of the 2nd, 3rd and 30th chance.
But we cannot ask You to re-strand and re-launch our lives unless we are willing to allow You to apply Your lance and resist all backward glance.