ONE BRIGHT WEEK BLOG
God’s In Charge!
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
I have never thought of my feet as being beautiful. They are relatively small and have some rather hard patches and don’t always smell great. Enough information - too much, actually. But the fact is that my feet are amazing things that take me from A to B in relative comfort and speed. God gets excited about the feet of those who persist and are ready to scale mountains and go wherever and whatever it takes to bring the Good News that God loves each one of us, individually, with a passion. God says that the feet of such people are beautiful because however much it hurts and however hard it gets, the perseverance is worth it. A few days ago, I watched along with the rest of the nation as one exhausted runner picked up someone he had never met before and literally carried him over the line at the end of the London marathon. Close to tears, I witnessed someone willing to give up the good time he was about to achieve in order that someone else could get across the line – and even made sure he finished afterwards. The next day, a BBC reporter asked the man who had been helped whether he would do the same thing and got the most honest of replies “I’d like to think so”. Feet hurting, bodies aching - the good news was of both of them completing the race. Last year, those awesome triathletes, the Brownlee brothers showed us the same thing. The people who bring Good News are not always fresh as a daisy as they waltz into the court of the king and shout that the battle is won – the original story of the battle of Marathon, thousands of years ago, was of a man who told the news of victory having run 26 miles and then fell down dead with exhaustion. Great story – not for him, though.
Jesus, contrary to some people’s beliefs, did not saunter to the Cross with the anticipation that it would be a jolly little affair. He knew the impending cost so that he literally sweat blood on the night before in Gethsemane – a physiological sign of extreme stress. He knew the cost was massive – to the point that even he had the temptation to back out. The reality of life is that the best things in life are free but still have to be striven for. The glorious hippy idea that we can just opt out and life will be simple and full of butterflies simply doesn’t work in reality. The things that are worth having in life are often free but involve striving and fighting for. The job we want, the relationships we value, the skills we yearn to hone all need intentional and intense attention in order to gain meaning, flourish and develop. And ultimately, faith in Jesus Christ, a living relationship with God and the answers we seek in life do not simply drop in our lap without us engaging with them and giving of ourselves to see them come to fruition. Jesus gave every ounce of himself on that Cross for you and me and it cost him mentally, physically and spiritually to bring about the forgiveness of sins. The idea that we can simply mutter “cheers, mate” and toddle off without a further thought is what someone once called “cheap grace”. Because if we don’t appreciate the cost of the gift we will be unable to appreciate the value of it and the feelings of the individual who gave it to us.
I am quite excited as I write this because we have had a great response to both Try Praying and the Alpha Course which starts tomorrow. I know that everyone involved in these things has committed themselves to making them happen and has worked incredibly hard over a few months. And God smiles because he knows it. My prayer and theirs is that all who have experienced just a tiny smidgen of God in Try Praying and Alpha will get the bug, will know of God’s love, will experience the incredible life that God wants for them – and end up with smelly and tired feet because they carry the Good News on to thousands more.
Rev Tim Storey
Rector, Central Telford Parish
Area Dean, Telford