Runcorn hills cliffs are a place where I spent many hours in my youth. The cliffs are sandstone which is crumbly in many places, in the sandiest parts are the most dangerous to climb – showing very bright orange sandstone. The better parts are the crust which is a dark colour. The picture shows the vegetation around the base of the cliffs overgrowing and a cross at the bottom of the highest cliff. Many places now at Runcorn Hills Quarry are now closed off due to erosion, paths that once I used to bomb along on my bmx bike and jump across gaps in the cliff. Today it is all fenced off with many signs warning of danger. Other paths are just overgrown so you would not know that they exist, and there is even an air raid shelter underground which has been sealed off and covered in earth. Children growing up in the area today will probably not know that this wondrous cavern which I played in as a child still exists, even if it is hidden.
Many things in the past are hidden from us but we know they occurred because there are reminders about the event. Apparently the nazi concentration camps are being denied by some even though there is overwhelming evidence through the museums of the concentration camps. The stark reminder of the grave memorials at Yress in Belgium the other week, reminded me of the cost of life through world war 1.
The cross at the bottom of this cliff reminds me of the child who fell off the cliff in 1995 called Wayne O Donnell. Clearly the family loved their son very much. You can see tributes to him and his football scarf to Manchester United is still draped over the cross. There is even a plaque on the cliff which reads;
In loving memory of
Who fell to his death
on the 7th July 1995 aged 15 years
Love Mum, Dad, and Sister Nicky
This event clearly took place even though it was many years ago. People visiting the place would not doubt that this was a real event.
The bible has many examples of God telling people to put up monuments to remember events.
19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up out of the Jordan River. They camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 Joshua set up the 12 stones at Gilgal. They were the ones the people had taken out of the Jordan. 21 Then he spoke to the Israelites. He said, “In days to come, your children after you will ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 Their parents must tell them, ‘Israel went across the Jordan River on dry ground.’ 23 The Lord your God dried up the Jordan for you until you had gone across it. He did to the Jordan River the same thing he had done to the Red Sea. He dried up the Red Sea ahead of us until we had gone across it. 24 He did it so that all the nations on earth would know that he is powerful. He did it so that you would always have respect for the Lord your God.”
The stones were set in place so the tribe of Israel would remember in the years to come that these things that happened, happened because God stepped into their lives and interceded supernaturally.
I think this is such an important thing to remember that God interceded for Israel but later God interceded for everyone through Jesus on the cross. The cross is a living monument of God because it has power to give hope. Hope in desperate places, hope when all is lost. The church can be a stick in the mud to people coming to faith, but it needs to place the emphasis on the healing power of the cross, on the blood of Jesus.
One more message I feel I need to say tonight is that we should not expect God to do all the interceding. When we intercede God works within us, supernaturally healing people, supernaturally bringing people together, supernaturally changing lives for the better.
What reminders do we have in our life that God has interceded for us and that God will not forget anyone if they should ask for forgiveness for sins?
Dear Lord, Thank you for your love, you are truly an awesome and real living God. I pray that I can reach out and intercede in other peoples lives and make that difference as you asked me to do some years ago. Let me supernaturally change people and lead them to your Son, our saviour Jesus Christ.