Is it only 8 days since I abseiled down the church tower? It seems ages ago already. Up on the top of the tower, we had an opportunity to chat to Dave Talbot, who organises these abseiling experiences. He and his team were great teachers, and their professionalism certainly helped to reassure those of us who were somewhat nervous. As he tied my rope, with a figure-of-eight knot, he and I started talking about knots. I mentioned that as a mathematician, I found them quite fascinating. Dave told me his favourite knot was a Hunter's Bend- and suggested I looked it up when I got home. So I did
It is indeed very attractive- and it is good for holding synthetic ropes without slipping. I am not sure when I should use it, but as the saying goes Better to know a knot and not need it, than need a knot and not know it.
Dave was at pains to point out that there were two ropes as I abseiled down - the one I was holding, which passed through my carabiner at my waist, which I let out gradually to allow myself to descend - and the safety rope he had tied to my chest, which he held at all times. "You're holding on - and I'm holding on - so even if you should let go, you won't fall"
And sure enough, Dave did hold on, so I could wave my arms and even try little jumps. And he guided me to a safe landing.
When it was time for me to climb over the edge of the parapet, I suddenly remembered the motto of Spurgeon's College, where Bob studied for ministry.
"Et Teneo et Teneor" - "I both hold, and am held"
The beautiful stained glass window in the College entrance hall is a vivid reminder.
Yes, by faith I cling to the cross of Jesus, claiming Him as my Saviour - but when my faith is weak and faltering I know He is still holding on to me, and He will never let me fall.
And that gives me the strength to face whatever lies ahead of me.