LETTER FROM A MINISTER
THERE IS VERY LITTLE WORSE than the sound of scraping metal, especially when it involves your near new car and a concrete pillar. It was a Monday lunchtime and, after a productive meeting, I raced to my car to make sure I wouldn't miss the train I was scheduled to catch not long after. Key in the ignition; car into reverse; press down on the accelerator and turn the steering wheel to the left, and crunch.
It wasn't the first time I've wished that life came with a 'rewind' button.
After hlding my head in my hands for a few seconds, I pulled forward and summoned the courage to step out of the car and inspect the driver's door. What I saw wasn't pretty although, if I'm honest, the greatest damage was to my own pride. Damage that I've been reminded of, every time afterwards that I've got into the car.
I know that, for many of us, our lives can be like that car door. We carry the scars of the mistakes we've made, or of the hurt that's been caused. And those scars remind us day in, day out, that we're not the person we'd want to be.
At Easter, I am always grateful for the reminder that I don't need to carry the guilt of the mistakes I've made.
I can say this because Easter reminds me of the moment when the God who created me and loves me, sent his son Jesus to give his life for mine. Yes, it happened almost 2000 years ago. Yes, the world we live in today might feel very different. But the death of Jesus on the cross, and him being raised to life three days later, offers me strength for today, and a hope that lasts forever.
This incredible gift—one that I'll never fully understand—wipes out all the mistakes I've made; removes all the dents, and scrapes and scars I would otherwise carry; and enables me to live my life with purpose and hope, free to be the person that I was created to be.
We might be tempted to think of it like an insurance policy—all I have to do is go to church and I get all that?! The trouble with this analogy is that I know full well my insurance premiums will go up next year, because of the repairs required to that dented door. I'll pay for it somewhere.
The difference with the forgiveness offered in a relationship with Jesus, is that it comes at no cost to us. It is a free gift from a Father God who loves us. No reminders. No hefty premium to pay next year.
The difference is love. We don't deserve to see our mistakes wiped out. But God's incredible love for us—demonstrated by the death of his son Jesus on the cross—means we get a chance to start over again, and again; without the small print.
Revd Steve Wood
Minister of Newport Pagnell Baptist Church