Rearing Chickens

A previous blog post about a meeting held at Martin Top in 1935 caused some amusement. A certain speaker was coming to Salem Chapel to explain about livestock's digestive systems. It was not a one off- other such informative events took place during that period, according to the little book of pulpit announcements which I found in our archive. On 6th March 1935, Miss I.M. Willan of the University of Leeds and the Yorkshire Council for Agricultural Education came to Martin Top to give a talk on ‘The Rearing of Chickens’. Three months previous in January 1935, W.W. Ballardie BSc held forth on the ‘Management of Feeding of Dairy Cattle’. We were certainly a farming church then if not now. So is this further evidence of spiritual waning? A kinder interpretation might suggest the government was preparing for the Second World War with its inevitable food shortages and blockades. Still, I read little in the chapel notices about the rearing and feeding of Christians. Where was the weekly Bible Study? We generally know how to better fill our bellies than replenish our souls; we are more skilled at feeding dogs and budgies than our own spirits.

The Christian who desires to grow in faith and knowledge (and I wonder if there is any other kind) will read regularly his Bible, spend time with fellow believers and pray often to his Father in heaven. The church is called to make disciples, not rear chickens or breed turkeys. Too many Christians are dieting and slimming, when they should be fattening and feasting. 

Ye famishing, naked, and poor,
Distressèd, tormented, forlorn,
In Christ is a suitable store,
For all that unto him will come;
He’s Bread, and the Bread of Life too;
Well suited the hungry to fill;
Nor one that unto him shall go,
But what will approve the Bread well.

Yes, he is the true paschal Lamb,
Of which all his Israel must eat;
Not sodden, but roast in the flame
Of Sinai’s most horrible heat.
This, this is the true fatted calf
The Father gave orders to kill,
That prodigals might have enough
When feasting on fair Zion’s hill.

[The Wine of the Kingdom is Christ,
Provided for beggars distressed!
Which makes broken hearts to rejoice,
When with it the soul is refreshed.
He’s Water to cleanse and to heal;
The thirsty are welcome to drink;
A River that never can fail;
A Fountain that never can sink.

It always is full to the brim,
Of water of life and of peace;
From which blessings flow like a stream,
As free as the sun runs its race.
He’s marrow and fatness as well,
A fulness of every good;
Nor Gabriel is able to tell,
The blessings that in him are stored.]

William Gadsby, Gaddbsy Hymns, No 566