THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – What is so unique about Jesus? 16th August
I’m going to start this week’s thought on a very personal note – I should perhaps apologies, but I’d rather not as I know I’m not alone in some of what I’m going to say and I hope also to bring a note of hope.
This last week or so has been difficult, on Thursday a few of us were privileged to attend the funeral of a very dear friend (numbers of course restricted, sadly), she was someone who touched the lives of countless people with her friendship, personality, dedication and loyalty, not just here, but in many countries throughout the world. Also, our church lost a loved and dedicated speaker who gave great service to the church. He often had simple yet profound messages that could cut to the heart of the matter. Both will be greatly missed.
On an even more personal note, my Aunty Dot (not a real aunt) passed away just shy of her 98th birthday. When our family moved to Chelmsford we moved into the flat next door to Dot and her husband Norman. Dot was so excited to have children moving in next door. There were my two older brothers aged six and seven – and my mother was expecting yours truly! So Dot has been there quite literally from day one. To begin to do justice to Dot’s influence on my life would require an exceedingly long thought for the week! So I will satisfy myself by simply saying that, even into adulthood, whenever I was with her I felt safe and always felt loved, feelings her two adopted daughters willingly and graciously shared. Dot was also a lady of faith and for me personified the words attributed to a number of people including Francis of Assis ‘Go into the world and preach the gospel and if necessary use words’ she simply oozed joy and love.
Nowadays I often say when conducting funerals that in the days, weeks, months and years after a loved one has passed, we often say things like ‘I wonder what so and so would say about that’ or, ‘so and so would have loved this.‘ Every time we say these things we bring that person flooding into the present, sometimes the memories and feelings are so strong it’s as if they standing there with us, their influence in our lives still shining. And no one can take that away. But what has this to do with who Jesus is and why he’s so unique?
Hard as it is for me to say, the truth is that although our friends and loved ones will in deed live with us forever, after a few generations their direct influence on new generation diminishes considerably. So what are the similarities and what are the differences between Jesus and the Auntie Dots of this world? Well, like Auntie Dot, Jesus’ love is unconditional, even when we go wrong he still loves us, and he will forgive us when we go to him in sorrow for what we’ve done. Jesus even went one step further and took on the ultimate punishment on the cross for our wrong doings. One of the other differences of course is that His influence never diminishes, it’s as strong now as it’s ever been and will continue to be so, age to age, generation to generation – He is after all the Son of God.
But how does Jesus influence us? For one thing, I firmly believe he works through the likes of my Auntie Dot, the answer to silent perhaps even unspoken prayers. But sometimes we have to invite Him in – “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest….” (Mt 11:28 …) ‘Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, …’ (Rev 3:20…).
It’s when we open the door that we can receive that inexplicable calm and secure feeling often describe as ‘the peace which passes all understanding.’ And when we do all these things, we can also claim the promise Jesus made to his disciples ‘…And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt 28: 20b)
We give you grateful thanks for the
Special people who bring
Light into our lives,
For those who inspire us,
Those who care for us and love us
Those whose friendship goes beyond words.
We thank you for Your great mercy, shown through
Their love and the life and love of your Son, Jesus Christ.
We pray for all those who don’t have
Special people in their lives,
Who don’t feel cared for or loved.
May they seek, find and know
Your love and tender mercy in their lives,
May they hear you knocking, and open the door.
And may we be open to being
Your answer to their prayers
We ask a special blessing on
All people who are feeling vulnerable,
Those who are sick, those who are dying,
For those who love and care for them,
And for those suffering loss.
We pray for Dot’s family,
For Lyndsey and Paul, for Sue.
You know the needs of each one Lord,
So we lift them to you in the
Precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen