This week will have been Shrove Tuesday and we press on toward the best of the Christian celebrations with Easter just around the corner.
Somehow, Pancake Day arrived before I was ready for it and I failed to mention it earlier so you could come for pancakes, sorry! I’ll try to do better next year.
Last week was a busy week and I was a bit distracted from the usual day to day events that one takes for granted that normally happen. You will know about the lad from Forfar FC that died last week and my heart is hurting for his family in a time like this. I was privileged to do a wee memorial at Station Park in his memory.
It is a sad reminder that death is very much a part of life and surrounds all of us. Easter is also a reminder of the death of one man that changed the world. I have been preaching through the gospel of John, these past several Sundays it has focused on the time of the crucifixion.
I lead off with the following story: ‘A man very educated in various sciences was riding a ferryboat. He was talking to a rather uneducated man out on the open deck. He asked him if he know about Geology? He said, no, he didn’t. The educated man replied, well, a quarter of your life is gone. He then asked him, if he knew Biology? Again, he said no. The man said, well then, half of your life is gone. He further asked him if he knew Zoology? The man answered him, no, he didn’t. The man came back and said, well then three quarters of your life is gone.
‘Suddenly a wave hit the ferryboat, knocking the educated man into the water. The uneducated man shouted at him, do you know how to swim? The reply back was- no. He said, then, all your life is gone.’
The point the author was making from that was that we don’t always need to know everything in order to know the important things, like how to swim. The author I was reading was making the point that in Christian faith knowing about Calvary is a ‘how to swim’ kind of thing in understanding God.
Last week Graham Lockhart addressed a bit about Stephen Fry’s outburst of a couple of weeks ago. Whilst there is much more ‘rebuttal’ that could be made, I find the god that Stephen describes is a god I don’t want either.
It seems as well to point out that he is not quite the atheist he wants us to believe. If he really believes as he claims, he would understand suffering under a godless survival of the fittest and random chance world makes absolute sense and that there is no explanation for the pain, suffering and every other bad thing in life. He shouldn’t care about those that do have a faith. But the reality is there is something personal in his life that appears to me to be crying out for an explanation.
So the question is in the spiritual sense ‘do you know how to swim?’ In the coming weeks we have to go to the place that teaches us how to swim and that is at the foot of the cross. Easter will be here quicker than we are ready... so hopefully between now and then we can find our way to a place of learning and understanding.
Swimming against the current,
Rev. Jon Bergen
Brechin Baptist Fellowship