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Posts Tagged ‘the Saviour of the world’

Jo 23Everywhere I have gone in Sydney this past week, there seems to have been a subdued feeling in the air. The Christmas hustle and bustle continues, yet people seem just that little bit more solemn, that little bit quieter and sadder in the midst of this season of joy. When chatting with others, it is not long before the conversation turns to the recent terrible event that occurred in our city.

But there have been other events as well these past weeks and months that have left us shocked and saddened. The killing of seven children in one family, along with another child. The heartless murder of well over a hundred Pakistani children and teachers. People’s lives being extinguished in horrific car accidents. The death of a promising young cricketer in the middle of a game. Further back still, the loss of many passengers on an aircraft that has yet to be found. The shooting down of another plane over the Ukraine. Beheadings in the Middle East. The list could go on.

Here in Sydney, in the aftermath of the recent siege, the hearts of many seem softened towards others. A huge number of people have visited Martin Place and left floral tributes there. People seem to want to be together more and to care for one another better. Yet there is an air of helplessness and perhaps even fear at times as well, along with a sense of shock that we could be so vulnerable to such attacks. In turn, this has brought with it a defiant stand against such violence, as many rise up to say, ‘This is not how we do things in Australia—we want to live in peace. Our culture is one of mateship and of acceptance.’

Underneath it all, however, I think there is a yearning for a peace and security this world cannot give—even our own ‘lucky country’—and a yearning for comfort and security, in the wake of such disasters. Many would struggle to verbalise this. Others would refuse to acknowledge it. But I believe it is true all the same.

We are all in need of rescuing and of the comfort and security this brings. At the moment, our youngest granddaughter is at the age where she tries to haul herself up onto various pieces of furniture around the house. Consequently, she often tumbles over, sometimes hurting herself. How comforting those loving arms of Mum or Dad or grandparents are to her at that point. How readily she nestles her head on my shoulder in these moments so I can feel those heart-wrenching sobs begin to lessen in her little body. In the same way, we too need to look to the only one who can truly rescue us and provide the comfort and security our hearts crave—Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Let’s welcome our Saviour fully into our needy world and our needy hearts this Christmas. And let’s pray for that peace that passes understanding to comfort all who mourn in this season of joy.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

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In recent years, I have learnt a few things from our grandchildren. They are all wonderful, of course! Our oldest, Amy—eager, out-going, energetic, blonde and beautiful. Our second oldest, Olivia—warm, a little more introverted, quick sense of humour, brown-eyed and equally beautiful. And our youngest, Zain—almond-shaped eyes, black curls from his Ghanaian dad, gorgeous grin and yummy, milk-chocolate skin! It is a delight to watch them all grow and develop.

Each of them is unique and has had a different reaction when visiting us, we have noticed. When Amy, now ten, was around twelve months old, I well remember her parents walking into our home, holding this cute, blue-eyed little girl who stared solemnly at us. We stared back, absolutely spellbound. We could not take our eyes off her. Eventually, she would frown heavily, scrunch her whole face up, reach out her arm and point her finger in some other, distant direction. Clearly, she was ordering us to take our gaze elsewhere! She did not appreciate being such an object of curiosity and wanted to make her feelings known. Even then, she was mastering the ancient art of deflection.

This picture of Amy came to mind last week, when I read the account of Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). I love this story for so many reasons. I love the way Jesus treats this woman with respect, even merely by speaking to her. I love how he cares enough about her to offer her ‘living water’. I love how he tries to break it gently to her that he knows all about her. And, most of all, I love how he chooses to declare to her who he really is—‘I who speak to you am he.

But my heart goes out to this Samaritan woman, as she interacts with Jesus. Can you imagine how you would feel if some stranger told you everything you ever did, as this woman herself puts it later (v39)? No wonder she seems to grasp at any straw and chooses to dabble big-time in that ancient art of deflecting! No wonder she, just like little Amy, tries to point Jesus in an entirely different direction and wriggle out of the situation!

Perhaps her question about the right place to worship was serious and important to her, perhaps it wasn’t. Whatever her thoughts at that point, I can relate to them. With stunning clarity, I see myself in this woman’s response to Jesus. Even when I know much better, how many times do I try that same ancient art of deflection? How many times do I know what Jesus is saying to me, yet I seek to centre his attention elsewhere, foolishly asking him other questions that don’t matter nearly so much?

At last I sit still, listening to the One who knows all about me. Now I put down my arm and stop pointing elsewhere. Now I give him space in my day and in my heart and mind to be who he really is—the Messiah, the Christ, the Saviour of the world sent from God to set us free.

I hear him say to me today, ‘I who speak to you am he.’ And, like the Samaritans of that town, because of his words, I believe.

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