Today: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Personal History    (7/29/2018 )

Towton is a very significant name in English history.  It’s a small village, where in 1461 a battle was fought which is often described as the bloodiest battle ever to be fought on English soil.  It was one of the battles of the Wars of the Roses and led to a victory for the Yorkists and to Edward IV becoming king of England.

I visited the battle site, which is not far from where we live, a few months ago.  It was a moving experience to walk over the fields were so many were butchered to death, to see the stream that flowed red with blood when many drowned trying to escape.

But there were no personal links.  So far as I know, none of my ancestors were there, and although it changed the course of English history, it has otherwise had no direct impact on my life.

The same could be said about many great events in history.  They are interesting or disturbing to read or hear about, but unless there are some personal links, they may hardly touch our lives at all.

The greatest events of 2,000 years ago, however, are quite different.  

Over some of these recent weeks, we have been exploring the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus for life today.  How do we understand those momentous events?

We have thought about Jesus as both Shepherd and Lamb, as the one who is in some sense a substitute for us, who died in our place; who is the conqueror over evil and death, who is redeemer, saviour, pioneer, the fulfilment of God’s purposes.  These and other interpretations are graphic pictures which can help us understand a little more of what Jesus did for us.  Each picture on its own tells only part of the story, each one lighting up the central truth in glorious colour and three dimensions.  (You might like to look back through the Archive to read the articles again - starting with ‘Substitute’.)

But even if we could go on exploring these pictures of the “atonement” - the way God brings us to himself through his Son Jesus - they would still be like great events in history - fascinating and significant, but remote unless they also touch us in some way.

For Christians, what happened at the cross and directly after is central to their faith.  I can say for myself, that those events have shaped my life, given me understanding of God’s great love, given me hope for life beyond and more wonderful even than this life, changed my career and given me a pattern for living which, even when I fail, sets a standard and a goal which brings blessing to me and, I trust, to others, and gives glory and thanks to God.

This is more than history, this is life, close up and personal, now.  Make it your own!


Lord, help me to understand as much as I need to understand, but beyond and beneath that, give me a love for you and what you want, that echoes your love and purpose for me and all people.

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