Doctor Foster Went to Gloucester

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Hello again Dear BlogNogs,

Thank you for joining me here today. After four days of intermittent, welcome rain, I see a hummingbird darting by my window in audacious plunges; zooming into the refreshed red trumpet vines. The rain has provided a fresh nectar buffet.

Like a British Spitfire plane, this tiny, winged marvel zooms in and out of my red trumpet blossoms with amazing precision.

Still, when the dinner guest following you has a beak like a sword in fast action, you tend to move swiftly through the hummingbird buffet line!  This hummingbird
understands the message of the red trumpet blooms: ”Blow the trumpet in Zion; feasting is at hand!”

So, even as the Scripture says in Job 12:7… that the birds of the air can teach us, I’m taking a tip from my hummingbird friend. I’m poking my beak into the Bible to draw fresh nectar for today’s blog on Dr. Foster.

While hummingbirds have sword-like beaks for food, Dr. Foster had a mightier sword – “….the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17.)  Walking in the rain of the outpouring of God’s Spirit, Dr. Foster went to Gloucester to bring the Book of God’s GOOD News to a city known for the origin of a book of BAD news.

The city of Gloucester has played a significant role in both the general history and Christian history of England.  After William the Conqueror conquered England in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, it was in 1086, while living in Gloucester, he ordered a vast survey of all the land in his conquered kingdom.  This census was the first official record of property owners living in England. Not only property owners and citizens, but every cow, chicken, and little piglet all walked two by two into the pages of King William’s “Who’s Who” Tax Book.

This Book cast such gloom and doom on the English people, whose tax burden now funded even the invader’s armies, that it was called the “ Domesday Book.” (pronounced Doomzday.)  It was final judgment for what was owed the king.  And as William was all three branches of Government (Executive, Legislative and Judicial), all rolled into one, the bill passed – absolutely filibuster-proof!  Everything was going his way – for a time, that is.

It was just a year later, in 1087, that William fell from his horse in battle.  Severely injured and close to death, his Domesday Book may have suddenly taken on new meaning for him.  Surprisingly, he now ordered his wealth to be distributed between the poor and the Church.  I wonder what “stimulus” happened in his heart?

Perhaps William suddenly thirsted for “The Bread of Life,” (John 6: 27-40 ) – as I see yet another hummingbird is thirsting for food right now (banging his beak on the red back door) But, he’s misled by the bright red color!  (It’s not a trumpet vine.  Color isn’t everything, Mr. Hummingbird.  Don’t knock on wood for food!)

That must be lesson number two from the hummingbirds.

Now, back to books.  As I recall, the only earthly Royal book that contains my name is a book I signed for the present Queen Elizabeth’s mother, the late “Queen Mum.”  She was the sponsor of England’s physical fitness clubs for girls.

A lovely Keepsake Book for the Queen was sent around England for the signature of a representative from every district.  I was sent to the Town Hall for our district when the book reached Liverpool.

I was about twelve at the time, and quite awe-struck sitting at an ornate mahogany desk with a butler-like gentleman making sure the Queen’s keepsake was kept immaculate.  He covered the page of previously gathered signatures with an ink blotter sheet, and another under my hand.  There was just enough open space for me to sign my name: “Marjorie Ainsborough, Liverpool.”  Of course, I signed in my very best penmanship, dipping the calligraphy nib (pen-point) very carefully into the vintage ink-well beside the book.

As I finished, the “butler” smiled his approval. And, yes… you guessed it – as I looked up at him, I knocked over the inkwell, right by my name!  The rest of the signatures were saved by the blotter sheets.  But forever (in the Royal archives somewhere), there remains a book with a big, black blob of ink by the name of Marjorie Ainsborough.

But, Hallelujah!  There remains in Heaven the Royal Book of all those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Luke 10:20).  And there are no ink blobs or stains of any kind alongside the names of us who believe that “….The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin. (1. John 1:7)

This brings me back to Dr. Foster and the Book of books – the Bible.  The Book of which President George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”  (“Blessed is the nation whose God is The Lord…” – Psalm 33:12)

The nation of England was in turbulent times of Christian persecution and even martyrdom, when the real bishop of Gloucester, John Hooper, valiantly gave his life for Christ, burning at the stake in 1555.  There in Gloucester, as he calmly walked towards his death, he was amazed to see almost 7,000 of his faithful flock weeping and praying for him.  He said to his executioners, “When I was their pastor, I preached to them the true and sincere doctrine, and that out of the Word of God.”  His last words were, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

The Christian Mother Goose version of the rhyme, “Doctor Foster,” reflects the purpose of this Oxford scholar’s gentle, wise and steadfast teaching of the Good News of the Gospel in Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth…” John Hooper did indeed make God’s Word plain to the common people of Gloucester who loved him.

Oh, look at the inspiring sight I just saw!  A hummingbird veered off into the sun from its fellow flyers.  It instantly reminded me of the Air Force tradition of the “Missing Man” formation, honoring a fallen hero who has gone to glory.

So I say, “Three salutes and honor to a hero of the Faith, who has gone to glory – John Hooper!”

And be sure to get your daily spiritual “nectar” by reading God’s Word!

Until next time, Blessings!

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Christian Mother Goose®

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