Today we remember the appalling tragedy and horror of the July 7th bombings, which were committed 10 years ago.
The untold consequences of trauma, fear and anguish still rippling through countless lives.
Easy to type. Easy to read…
Yet when you dip into the stories and accounts of what happened, what it was really like standing or sitting in the ‘ground zero’ of a terrorist bomb, it becomes uncomfortable.
Sickening, disgusting, unforgivable. All very understandable responses.
And then there is the tricky issue of ‘killing in the name of…’ and that debate still needs to be held. Yes, countless crimes have been committed in the name of all kinds of deities but at the end of the day it is one thing do something ‘in the name of…’ it is another to truly represent that ‘name’. The question is ‘does the act reflect and represent the name accurately?’
And that my friends is the awkward elephant in the room.
It follows that there are those who will place religion in the dock. The shaking fist will accuse… ‘where was God that day?’
It was Joan Osbourne recorded ‘What if God was One of Us?’
She penned these classic lines…
‘What if God was one of us… just a stranger on the bus, trying to make his way home?’
This is the heart of the gospel. That the infinite God of the universe entered human experience and became ‘One of Us’.
He left the ‘righteousness, peace and joy of heaven’ to become the ‘Man of sorrows, familiar with suffering’. In Gethsemane as the heavens were silent, He endured His own agonising night of trauma. At Calvery as He hung naked, bled and suffocated, He became the victim of the rapist, the child abuser, the terrorist. He was the stranger on the 7/7 trains and bus whose names we all forget.
He became ‘One of Us’. He understands. He has compassion. He weeps. His comfort is still flowing freely.
But the greater miracle is that on that Cross he not only represented the victim… He also represented the perpetrator.
Think on that…
We love the comfort of knowing He took our punishment for us… But Calvary was a once for all event. What He did for you, He also did for the terrorist that day.
All the wrath, punishment and vengeance that the perpetrators deserved, have already been delivered…
blow by blow…
And so there is no longer a place for wrath, punishment or vengeance… for they were perfectly satisfied at the Cross.
In human hands these activities are weapons of mass destruction but never change a thing for the better.
There remains only room for forgiveness and love…
for these collided head on at Calvery…
and that is how the God of the universe changes everything in the ‘twinkling of an eye’…
He became ‘One of Us’…
in every sense.
Just a short post to let you all know that after a hectic Autumn moving town, church, home, schools and job…. a much needed break was had over the Christmas and New Year period.
Well its a New Year… so time to be posting again! Watch this space!
Well…. Its been a few days since the UK’s most unpleasant weather for some while, made headline news. Many people lost roof tiles, cherished plants and greenhouses. Some people lost cars, homes and sadly, lives.
There’s no doubt that misbehaving weather is always a great leveller. It always reminds us of our fragile existence; how powerless we truly are and how easily our personal world can be shaken and turned on its head.
It was a bad storm, but not as bad as some.
In 2006 Sebastian Junger penned a non fiction work entitled The Perfect Storm. It was an account of a once in a hundred years weather event that hit the eastern seaboard of the US in 1991. A storm that was a confluence of separate meteorological conditions that became drastically aggravated to produce one of the most fearsome storms ever recorded. A storm that destroyed communities, sank boats, killed fishermen and tested the emergency and sea rescue services to the limit. The storm was a confluence of conditions that in isolation would have proved difficult but when combined was devastating.
As the Jewish captives returned from 70 years of exile at the hands of the Babylonians God speaks through Haggai the prophet…
6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7 And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. 9 The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.
Although these verses would have had a physical and immediate fulfilment in the years after Haggai wrote them; I love the hint of the ‘greater’ fulfilment to be realised through the work of Christ. A great shaking will cause the treasures that Christ died for to come into His temple (the church ). A temple greater because of the measure of glory it will house; glory which leads these treasures to find peace .
I humbly submit to you that I think God has been allowing a confluence of spiritual weather systems to stack up. The perfect storm is on the way. Our news stories have declared the first tremors of what seems to me a great shaking in our nation…
- The MP’s expenses scandal
- The international Banking crash
- The Housing/equity crash
- The Media phone tapping scandal
- The NHS Trusts cover up
- The BBC peadophilia scandals
When you examine these stories each one features an area of our society where great trust was placed… only to be betrayed. I believe God is narrowing the options in readiness… readiness to accept the one who is outrageously faithful in the demonstration of His goodness.
I’ll end with this clip of Russell Brand taking on Jeremy Paxman (contains strong language). I don’t hold to his politic or his indifference, but I do believe below the surface is a heart cry about the state of our nation and a hunger for what only He (Jesus) the desire of nations can bring – Peace. In the days of Wesley and Whitfield the nation was in a similar state. It was only the revival that followed that saved our nation from a bloody revolution. The answer is not Russell’s revolution, but it is the Holy Spirit birthing revival in the heart of His temple.. the church. The only answer is the people of Jesus Christ full of heaven’s presence, power and principles. Kings reigning with a servant heart.
5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (ESV)
17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (ESV)