“24 “So then, anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, and the wind blew hard against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock. “ [Matthew ch7 v24]
Jesus was teaching the crowd once more, talking about having faith and following His Teaching, listening to what He said and carrying it out in everyday life. In the teaching before this illustration Jesus teaches about not judging others, asking God for what they needed, and added the famous phrase “Do for others what you want them to do for you”. Have a read of the whole chapter it is a mandate for living the Christian Life and brings us closer to the Lord in our dealings with everything and everyone we come across.
The image He described was not entirely unusual in that part of the world in these days and in some cases even today. The rains were not so frequent and torrential rain was rare, which meant that the wide river beds dried up and for years looked a safe place to build, even though they were sandy. Disaster was inevitable when the heavy storm struck and the building simply washed away in the torrent.
So, He says life can be like that, things happen and if they [and us] did not have that firm foundation in our lives, the Christian Faith and our relationship with God through Jesus our Saviour, then we can find ourselves overwhelmed in times of trouble. I have found that my faith has got me through this time of crisis which has come over us all like a torrent sweeping away all that we thought that we had. Some of these we felt that we could not do without but in the time of lock-down and beyond we are finding just what is important.
I would like to take the image Jesus had supplied us with and look more closely at what we built our lives upon. What part of our lives or what things we had built on rock and what was built on sand. What has been washed away and what has been the rock in our lives. The “stuff” we thought we needed was no longer relevant, while the basics of living such as food, medicines, communications, our Christian faith, were all brought into focus as the “rocks” of our lives.
We have found so much was disposable, goods in the shops when we potter about, holidays, short trips, plans for the future. What stayed, a new appreciation of the local shops, a better understanding of our neighbourhood and getting to know our neighbours. People have found kindness and caring and a concern for others while many have lost the cynicism and stand-offishness which seemed to have crept in to our society over the years.
We have found also a bed-rock of faith which has withstood the storm of the Pandemic, where Christian values have come to the fore. Where we have prayed so hard for deliverance and safety for our nearest and dearest so sincerely and with a depth maybe not felt before. We have discovered how deep our love for the church is and just how much we have missed worshipping together.
Take a side step away from the Image Jesus described to look at your faith and what have you found important in the time of isolation. Look at what has been swept away and what has remained. The church building has closed but the Church, the Worshipping Community has remained intact, helping out, keeping in contact, praying for others. No less of a church, no less of Followers of Jesus, no less of a praying community. When we do come back it will be with such a great heart and the church shall have such a flourishing as we give to God the Glory for all that He has done for us. Our God who is our refuge and our strength an ever-present help in all kinds of trouble. May God Bless you as you think of Him and all that He has done for you and may you build your faith upon the Rock that is Jesus.
LET US PRAY
You have prepared for those who love You such good things as pass our understanding,
Pour into our hearts such love towards You, that we, loving You in all things and above all things,
May obtain Your promises which exceeds all that we can hope for.
You are the Rock upon which we build our faith, You are the Strength which holds us
When the storm comes and threatens all that we have.
We thank You for the constancy of your love for us and the awe – inspiring care You have for us.
We pray for those who need support right now, those who mourn, those who are ill for whatever reason, those awaiting pain saving operations. Walk with them and grant them Your Peace.
We pray for our nation and for the days ahead so that when we move out and about that common sense prevails as we face an altered way of life.
We thank You for all that you have given us in the past, in the present and what will be in the future.
We ask in Jesus name.
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