While every human being has a unique story, we all seem to have a longing for something more that seems to be just out of reach. Every generation expresses this human quest. Joni Michell echoed this longing with the Woodstock lyric we got to get ourselves back to the garden. In fact, the quest is not to get back to the garden, but to have our relationship restored with the Gardener who created all things. Despite the repeated claims of people who say humanity is a random accident, a chance event in the cosmos, and there is no purpose in life – most of us recognise there is something more, so we search for meaning and answers.
Think about where you were in 2009. Where did you live? What was your family situation? Did you attend church and if so what was the church like? Between 2009 and 2019 how has your faith been trending? Has your faith been up and down like the stock-market, has it grown steadily or taken a plunge?
With the death this week of Jeffrey Epstein, some of his victims feel it isn’t fair that he will not face his accusers in court. There is something unjust in these events. Throughout history there have been many victims who have not had their day in court and for whom justice has not been done. You may have been hurt by the words or actions of another who has avoided justice and you feel it is unfair. Part of our faith reminds us, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) and so all will ultimately be judged, and justice will be done.
You may have read recently of the Police and the Whangārei District Council defending their decision to move Grant Edwards from the city mall. The news report described Grant as a hellfire-and-brimstone preacher. What do you think about the police stopping him from preaching? Even if the message is not wrong what do you think of the wisdom of his method of proclaiming it? Once, when sending his disciples out to proclaim the gospel, Jesus said, be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16) How do we speak wisely, proclaim wisely and answer wisely with the gospel we have to share?
I remember the golden age of heavyweight boxing in the 1970s when Muhammad Ali was in full flight saying, Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see. His boxing contests grabbed the attention of the world, with strong contenders giving their all to beat the Champion.
Jesus was a man of fearless faith who stood tall in testing times. The contestants coming against him in the temple were the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians – each wanting to discredit Jesus. They came not with physical blows but with questions they hoped would expose him as a spiritual lightweight and disqualify him in the eyes of the public.