GN: LENT AND HOLY WEEK
Perspective is everything! In #Jamaicalandwelove the ‘ talk of the town’, is all about Champs; the greatest high school show on earth. An event where the best of our male and female high school athletes, parade their skills at the Nation’s premier stadium, attracting, increasingly, over the years, a huge International audience. #Onespotmedia.com
Whilst in America the ‘ stop the Trump’ campaign is on in earnest, while Hillary Clinton seeks to wrap up the race to select the Democratic nominee for the Presidential elections later this year.
Then this morning, as I was completing my early morning devotions before rushing off the work, ‘ The Vilest Offender’ kind of exploded in my head. And because I knew the hymn from whence it came, and also that I didn’t have time to write a message, I let it ‘ simmer’. Until tonight!
So here’s the hymn from whence that Word from the Lord came:
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life our redemption to win,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice;
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.
Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.
This morning, my Bible opened to the famous warning in tge book Ephesians about Spiritual Warfare. And which section begins with ‘ Finally….. “.
So I started the beginning of the book to receive the context. About how God proposed in His heart for us to be ‘ Holy and blameless in Christ’, before the Creation. How we were dead in our sins, following the ruler of the ‘ power of the air’, the spirit that us now at work in all who are disobedient.
How at one time we without hope and without God in this world. How on Christ Jesus, we who were far away have been brought near to God.
After which ‘ Salvation History’, St. Paul then warns the new Church then, and we also now, that as a,consequence of the great ‘ Rescue Act of Mankind by God’, we face the full wrath of the powers of evil, viz, Spiritual Warfare.
For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the Cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12 NRSV.
This is where the ‘ Vilest Offender’ comes into the picture. For as the songwriter captures it lyrically,
‘ The Vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives’.
No wonder the full might of the forces of evil are brought to bear against, we who were once ‘ without God, and without hope’. For as a young pastor once asserted during a Good Friday Sermon:
” If the Thief on the Cross could join Jesus in Paradise “, then everyone, even ‘ dog puss and rat’ can go to heaven. In other words even, ‘ The Vilest Offender’. If he or she repents and looks to Jesus for Salvation!
Even Trump! Even ‘ ‘Dudus’! Even the worst ‘backslider’. The Atheist. The Muslim. Whoever! Even you and I, who until, Thank God for Jesus, were the worst of all sinners.
What a joyful reassuring Word as we enter into The Most Solemn and Celebrated Week in the Christian Calendar. Holy Week!
For whether or not, my alma mater, Jamaica College wins Boy’s Champs ( thanks for the encouraging WhatsApp message with the points standing at the end of day four Bruce James) or not, or whether or not Usain Bolt wins a historic Third Gold Medal in Rio, or whether or not Hillary Clinton becomes the next President of the USA, is, in the wider scheme of things, of little moment.
But to be reconciled to God, for Eternity, even the vilest offender, then that is really Good News. In 2016, ’17, ’18….whenever. Which is what Holy Week is all about. For we who, at one time, were without God in this world on Good Friday were ‘ brought near’, by the Blood of The Lamb, viz, Redemption.
That’s time for celebration! Which is what we’ll do, once again, on that Blessed Easter morning. For Christ is Risen indeed. Hallelujah. Especially for the Vilest Offender – you and I.
To God be the glory, great things he has done.