Today I have escaped the tyranny of the urgent as I enjoy a 24-hour personal retreat nestled in the Foothills, an hour's drive from the bustle of the city. There is no TV, no internet, in fact limited connectivity to the outside world. This morning I watched the rising sun bathe the snow-covered peaks in a magnificent pink tinge, another reminder of God's faithfulness each new day. This is a time of nourishment for the soul. As I reflected on today's Psalm, I am reminded of the brevity of our life here on earth, and am pulled up short by the phrase, "in vain we rush around" for what? In the words of Jesus, "What if we gain the whole world and lose our soul?"
I brought several books along. One is Max Lucado's latest – JESUS. Another is a novel set in the 16th century Venice where the 'Holy' Roman Empire sought to resist the incursion of the Ottoman Empire and with it the spread of Islam. Caught in the middle of this was the Jewish diaspora walled up in a ghetto and threatened daily by both factions. Was the world any different in the first century as Jesus ministered to that lost and broken world ... a people surrounded by the conquering Roman Empire and made to feel hopelessly inadequate as God's people by the ruling 'religious' elite.
But Jesus came and brought hope, healed the sick and cast out demons. As Lucado says in quoting John 3:16, "Whoever unfurls 3:16 as a banner for the ages. Whoever unrolls the welcome mat of heaven to humanity. Whoever invites the world to God." Only Jesus can. As the song reminds us, "God sent His son, they called him Jesus. He came to love, heal and forgive, he lived and died to buy my pardon, an empty grave is there to prove my saviour lives'. (Lyrics by Bill Gaither)
As followers of Christ, we are increasingly under attack by enemies of our faith – secularism, inclusivism, humanism, and others. Let us turn to Jesus because, in him, we can find calmness of spirit in this hurried world. Jesus is the name that gives us hope and assurance. JESUS … "Because there is something about that name."
Former staff and elder, fantastic discipler of young adults and Ambrose HR guy