I vividly remember walking into the living room a number of years ago and being greeted by a four-year-old who, proudly pointing to the large scrawl of dark blue felt pen all over the cream painted wall, declared, “Look, Mum, Mene, Mene, Tickle, Parsnip.”
I wasn’t sure whether to praise them for re-enacting the story from Daniel 5 or to tell them off for drawing on the wall. Fortunately, some wet wipes and a little “well done for remembering the story, but we use pens on paper not walls” chat, rescued the situation. Looking back, I am still pleased that they remembered the story, but for everyone’s sake, including theirs, I had to address the mess they had made. As a parent we know this is not a one-off either. Often there is a sense of déjà vu, a sense of “here we go again,” as we guide our children and point them to good choices in life and ultimately to Jesus.
I wonder if Daniel had a sense of déjà vu when he was summoned to Belshazzar’s Feast that night to interpret the writing on the wall. Here was another king, like Nebuchadnezzar, who was allowing his arrogance to get in the way of following God; another king who had seen the evidence of God at work but was reluctant to humble himself before God. Yet again, Daniel faithfully passes on God’s message to the king. Daniel knows that it is his job to pass on God’s word, but that Belshazzar has to choose what he does with it.
As we meet this Sunday at the All-In service, we’ll be thinking about these questions,
Who are the people God is using to speak into our lives? (Who are our Daniels?)
Into whose lives is God asking us to speak? (Who are our Belshazzars?)
We’ll be using black card and chalk to do some “tagging” (the writing of a nickname or mark on a surface by a graffiti artist. OED) as we answer these questions.
Parenting for Faith
For those of you who are parents of teens and looking for helpful advice as you point your children to Jesus and a life of faith, don’t forget that, starting Wednesday 22 September, Caz and I will be running the Parenting for Faith course – Teens Focus. You can find out more by visiting qpbc.org and clicking on the event.