Wednesday ‘Thought’ from Rev Alan Miller
Rev Alan has recently retired and together with his wife Maureen, has come to worship with us in St Donard’s. We’ll be able to introduce him properly once we get back to normal and look forward to his ministry among us.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
One very cold winter’s day, in Canada, my wife and I discovered our water supply had stopped. Because our water came from a well, we suspected the problem was outside. Before help arrived to fix the problem, we needed to make lunch I filled our biggest pot with freshly fallen snow. It was puffed up, overflowing – it was dazzling.
On the cooker, the snow melted quickly. Within minutes the puffed–up pile of snow became nothing more than a few drops of water at the bottom of the pot. For all its size, it had little substance.
We also notice little black specs of dust and grit in the water, which meant that the snow was not as pure as it looked.
It reminded me of the Pharisees who confronted Jesus, puffed up with their self-importance, on the outside, looking pure and lily white, pointing their fingers at sinners. (Luke 18:9-14) But in truth, they were, what Jesus described as “…whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27-28) These words of Jesus can make us feel rather smug, after all, we’re not like them, or others sinners. Doesn’t the Bible tell us; …we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? (Romans 2:23) And in 1 John 1:8-9, we read, ‘if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.’ And again, from Jesus we read, And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3-6) We are all sinners and in need of God’s forgiveness.
Let’s face it, mankind was on the road to perdition, and we needed rescued. Now enters God’s grace, full on, in Jesus, His Son. He was the sacrificial Lamb for our sins, because Divine justice demanded the price be paid for our disobedience. So, to save us from death of sin, Jesus would die in our place. That is how much God loves us, a love shown to us in its full glory when Jesus hung on that cross on a hill called Calvary, and died for you, for me, for all of mankind. What a Saviour! Such love is unfathomable.
In a few days we will remember that dreadful day, the agony of His crucifixion. But first we will recall His arrest – the injustice of it all; we will read again of his friends deserting Him, as we do when we sin; we will read of Him being smitten, and handed back and forth to see if fault could be found in Him – none was; we will read of Him being mercilessly scourged by Roman soldiers, then nailed to a cross of shame; and finally, we will read of Him being abandoned by His Father. “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark15:34) This was God showing us how much He loved us.
Almighty God, Your name is glorified even in the anguish of your Son’s death.
Grant us the courage to receive your anointed servant who embodies a wisdom and love that is foolishness to the world. Empower us in witness so that all the world may recognize in the scandal of the cross the mystery of reconciliation. Amen.