The frosty mornings are starting to draw in, it is clearly feeling like the deep mid winter. One good side to the frosty and cold mornings is that the colours are so clear and startling.
I was able to get to a good vantage point to take a picture of the sunrise this morning, two stories high overlooking accrington town. I was waiting in anticipation for the colours to change from the dull dawn light to the startling sunrise colours. I don’t know why I had an excitement about seeing the sun this morning, it wasn’t as if it might just not appear, and give it a miss. When it did appear it reminded me of the all seeing fiery eye from Lord of the rings, all seeing and casting its vengeful look towards the horizon. I almost wanted to duck down behind the wall that I was stood behind to hide. At least when you zoom in with the camera lens, the closer you get, the more vivid and distinct the sunrise gets.
No one else seemed to notice this fiery eye in the sky ascending to look over the day, many people below and in the distance were walking to work and school constantly looking into there phones. Walking across roads reading a text or playing the latest app. Was no one taking a blind bit of notice, or is that the sad fact that many today are blind to the God that created them.
God sometimes can be portrayed as a wrathful, vengeful God. Certainly when people think of the old Testament they seem to think it is all fire and brimstone. But to me it is full of mystery, and all sorts of stories and campaigns going completely wrong, but God always being graceful and bringing them back again, no matter how long it takes.
But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’
Why was I drawn to this reading today? As I read more in the old testament and I constantly surprised by new things, not vengeful things about God, but new poems, new reflections, new stories I haven’t heard. Even though I have read the Bible for the last few years every day I still find new words within.
The word master can be translated as Lord, Master or God, but it clearly refers to a slave and master situation, but this still speaks to me about my relationship with God. Of course we have to be very careful we don’t apply our context onto the story, our ideas about what slavery was like back then and judge God on the actions of sinful men, but that we just read and let the words wash over us so as to see if they mean anything to our lives today – is God trying to say anything to you?
Perhaps the reading reflects on how I love God, as a servant. I am His servant. I love my God, my wife and children, and I also love a whole lot of other people, but God expects more. Jesus tells us;
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
This was a command from the old testament. Shown here;
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
These commands are not written on stone so they can be smashed, but onto your heart so that they can never be taken away from us. They are a lifelong test.
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Jesus does take the commands and make them blissfully simple but eternally hard, they are simple in the fact that they are easy to understand.
Jesus opens up neighbour to mean everyone through the “good samaritan” parable – Luke 10:25. Everyone is my neighbour, so I should love everyone as myself, regardless of race, creed, colour, or any other thing that makes them different to me.
But they are hard in that they are very hard to apply, but not impossible, not impossible with God within us, guiding us, the Holy Spirit at work.
One day I, you, everybody (to quote from the blues brothers) will have to stand in front of the Lord our God, and I make no apology that He is everyones creator – you don’t opt out. But you chose whether you want His one advocate He sent, to wipe our sins off the face of the planet so we can stand blameless in front of God the Father. God’s love does not end, He yearns for the poor souls that carry on like He doesn’t exist to turn to Him, but what is more He yearns for us to go out and give them the light so more can be saved.
As we get closer to God, He looks brighter and more vivid and we look more dirty and sinful. We are the dark town beneath and He is the light above.
I pray this night that many will truly open their hearts to God the Father and allow His commands to be written on our hearts.
I pray that we as a world will start to acknowledge God our saviour, Jesus Christ who gave himself, who was blameless, fully man and fully God, and He is our one advocate in heaven.
I pray that we will all listen for the still small voice of the Holy Spirit when He urges us to look up from our idols, from our things, from our worldly state and look towards another eternal world that we have all be offered a place within, freely with open arms.