Thought for Sunday 5th July

Did you know Jesus wrote risk assessments?

We live in strange times don’t we?  Not just because of a virus but things which seemed to be of great value have become the opposite.  If you like watching the TV or Films you will have noticed that are in the time of the anti-hero.  We despise the old fashioned hero who lived a wholesome, honourable, gentle existence and instead prefer our heroes to be rule breakers, revolutionaries, coarse and edgy.  In short we like them to be bad (worse than us) but on our side.  These are strange times because deep down I think people still like things like honour, integrity, law abiding, generosity, etc. Being a radical rule breaker who ignores any safety measures might make a good character in a movie in but life it is a recipe for disaster.

The other day I saw a programme with a steeplejack in it.  The fool liked to hang off very tall buildings on a rope (in this case a church, painting a clock). However, he was no fool because he took safety measures.  He checked his ropes three times (maybe on occasions more, he said) and he had a safety rope.  Even with all that I still wouldn’t do it but that is just me.  If you are going to do dangerous things it is wise to take the safety measures.

When I take people out into the wildest parts of Dartmoor we have to take all the safety measures. People who don’t sometimes die (thankfully not many but then not many venture into the heart of the moor). It is no joke, some people die doing these kinds of things, you would be a fool not to come prepared.  I once came across a couple walking across a bog in trainers with their lunch in a plastic carrier bag. I hope they got back to safety but it was a really stupid thing to do.

Jesus says we must count the cost of following him (hence the risk assessment comment at the beginning).  He tells us that the cost could be our family, our friends, even our own life.  So what safety measures does he recommend?  An anchor.  We should have an anchor that is firmly set in God, that anchor being our faith – our trust in a God who promises to save us.  Not save us from suffering but save us for eternity (and I make no apology that this is God’s ultimate promise – perhaps it does sound like wishful thinking, but so what, this is a wish that is true – some of them are). Because something sounds good and gives us hope doesn’t automatically mean it can’t be trusted – that is nonsense, pure negative thinking, and negative thinking is not right any more than positive thinking so I’m putting my mind into the positive thinking thanks. If you want to think more about this try exploring “Pascal’s Wager”, I wish I had time to explore it with you.

Let me remind you of the chorus of an old hymn (Boy’s Brigader’s know this by heart):

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

This is what Jesus writes on the action part of his risk assessment – or at least he would if he asked me to do it.  God bless.