After the EGYPTAIR disaster what Hope: Christ the Solid Rock

ON CHRIST THE SOLID ROCK I STAND: EVERYTHING ELSE IS SINKING SAND

Whenever I hear about a plane crashing and people dying, and the fate of the passengers on #EGYPTAIR  reminded me of it, one  of the things I think about,  is the absolute terror that ‘ condemned ‘ folks must feel, when they sense that there is no hope of surviving.

And this absence of hope, on the one hand, and conviction that ‘ better must come’, on the other hand, is the driving force for the large scale migration to  North America, in particular, and Europe to a certain extent,  over the centuries.

For most, the ‘ tipping point’ has been economic; but for many others, violence has played a major role.

Perhaps the many young people in my country,  who a recent poll suggest would vote ” with their feet”  against the policies being pursued in Jamaica,  and migrate ‘ in a heart beat ‘ to the USA, have been plagued by both factors. Regardless of the reasons, however, the reality is that they see no hope for them in this place.

So when I read the Epistle for tomorrow in the worldwide Anglican Church, again, the first time when I read it, the ‘ penny did not drop’, I understood, very clearly the only true basis for peace in this ‘ broken world’.

A world that ” bold and necessary ‘ tax policies, according to the IMF, giving a ‘ thumbs up’ to the new government’s much heralded #1.5 election promise, cannot in and by itself fix. A policy that  according to the opposition leader, in her response during her budget speech, has brought #Tax-perity and will not result in Jamaica entering the ‘ promised land ‘ of #Prosperity. And so the politicians argue, and the cynics would say ‘ play games’,  and ‘ Jah kingdom goes to waste’- in the words of one of our famous reggae artist.

So where is the Hope going to come from for a nation rocked by violence day after day, and night after night.
Last night night’s latest episode on TV  featured a woman boasting that ‘ mi stab him’. The end result of which,  was the death of a young boy, who allegedly hit her son! A nation and a world where cancer takes away our loved ones every day.

Only in Jesus, declares the very Word of God.

THE WORD OF GOD –  NRSV

Therefore, since we are justified through faith, we have peace God through out Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
And not only that, but we boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produced endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love had been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

So we have access to God’s peace ‘ which passeth all human understanding ‘.
The kind of peace that ‘ a body to die for ‘ cannot give – although many by their actions ‘ vote otherwise ‘. The kind of peace that ‘ money ‘ cannot buy. Nor can music, even it ‘ blows your mind’, or marijuana for that matter!  Not even the birth of a long awaited child.

But having access alone will not bring us the Peace which Jesus offers. We have to,  as the Psalmist recommends, ” dwell in the secret place of the most High”. (91). Or ” One thing I asked of the Lord…..to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life”. (27)
And ‘ I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than dwell in the tents of the wicked ‘. (85)

All of which came into my heart as I wrote.
But how do we dwell in God’s house continuously when,  ‘ there is so much to do’. A family to care for, a country to govern, professional duties to be carried out, justice to be dispensed, human rights to protect, people to be interviewed on radio, Facebook Twitter…..time for relaxation #Fridaynightmovies.

Two answers came to me!
One, a popular Word  from Jeremiah given to the children of Israel when they were in exile:

” Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you in exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because of it prospers, you too will prosper”.
Jeremiah 7. NIV.

The other from a meditation by Chris Tiegreen which greeted me as I opened his book randomly yesterday.

” Stand firm then ( on the mighty power of the Lord) Ephesians 6:14.

So Jeremiah validates our efforts to contribute meaningfully to the community in which we live, including caring for our families. But warns that all of this is for the Glory of God. So that we be careful not to end up ‘ worshiping ‘ our families, our jobs, our efforts to secure human rights and justice and our political parties and our ‘ downtime’ and pleasures.

For  against such  ‘madness’ is the essential warning from the other popular Word from Ephesians. Stand Firm, against the  wiles of the evil powers of this world; not just  flesh and blood like Donald Trump.
For the goal of such evil is to ‘ steal, to kill and ultimately to destroy’.

Therefore bringing down a plane filled with people is not the ultimate goal. But rather to tempt us away from ” dwelling in the secret place of the Most High”. And therefore drawing us away from the access to the only True Peace that is available on earth.

So what does Tigreen recommend as we engage in ‘ spiritual warfare ‘ with evil. And Stand Firm!

”  Pray for God’s Kingdom to come; refuse to be swayed by false philosophies or umbilical ideas about God; cling to the truth and unshakable faith; know your Scripture and use your knowledge often; and ground yourself thoroughly in the gospel and share it readily”.
And we ought to recall, from the passage in Romans, that the Christian life is about ‘ building character ‘. And having the ‘ same mind which was in Christ Jesus ‘. So suffering ( for Christ…and not because of our own foolishness) is an important part of the process of ‘ dwelling in the Most High’

There is much here for us to consider. And I leave you with a profound word from.a famous Russian author who was a child of God:

The devil wrestles with God, and the field of the battle is the human heart – Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

And a hymn which came into my heart as I prepare to preach on this topic tomorrow in an inner city where hope is fast disappearing.

For nothing, ‘ neither life nor death, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future’,   can separate us from Gods Peace and Love that is in Christ Jesus.

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874

1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Refrain.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand

Peace.

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