‘What if the train done gone?
There is little point in standing on the platform of the station with a ticket in your hand, watching the back end of your train disappearing into the distance. As the song goes, ‘You can hear the whistle blow five hundred miles.’
Some of us are particularly adept at missing opportunities (and maybe trains); I’m thinking here of times when it would have been to our distinct advantage to sell our house, and times when we should not have; times when I should have picked up a musical instrument (as it was a great deal) and let it go by. Times when I could have and should have said ‘sorry’, and missed the moment; times when I could have taken the time out of my ‘busy’ day to hold a hand in kindness - and I didn’t.
So often we tell ourselves that we’ll do better next time - we’ll recognize the moment and not let it slip by again. But, in addition to our skill in letting opportunities pass us by, we are also past masters in procrastination - a bit like needing the ‘Round Tuit’; remember the carved wooden disc I showed you one Sunday with those words carved into it?
‘It’s OK’, we tell ourselves, ‘I’ll deal with it when I have time - it just isn’t the most important thing on my agenda at the moment - you just don’t know how busy I am.’
It is quite likely I don’t know how busy you are, but I’m sure that if something was suddenly threatening the life of one of your nearest and dearest - you would drop everything and run to their side to do what you could.
The problem is, in our increasingly cynical and secular world, that attention to our spiritual health is nowhere near as good as our attention to our physical health. Indeed, most people who are still in the ‘immortal phase’ - less than, say, 60 - don’t even think that there is such a thing as ‘Spiritual Health’.
Wait, then, until you get into hospital and find you have a life-threatening condition or a terminal prognosis with only months left on your calendar. You might find time to reconsider then. The problem is that we ‘don’t know the time or the hour’ - and it’s going to make you look awfully stupid when you flat-line your ECG and find yourself on that platform without even a ticket - and the train done gone.
CS Lewis wrote, ‘Christianity, if false, is of no importance; but if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.’
I think that in the last few weeks we have discovered that the facts of the origin of the universe - in the face of gross evil and injustice - align much more convincingly for the existence of God than the obverse. We have also shown from extra-biblical sources that Jesus was a real person - just like your grandpa - who lived and died; but, unlike your grandpa, Jesus rose again for us. The ‘Why?’ to that question is going to be answered in the next two sermons.
But to those of you who may feel happy with your own salvation, let me ask you - are you happy that your children and grandchildren are equally aware of what the saving grace of Christ means for them? I know I’m worried for our younger family, and I need to tell them - because if I don’t, they may find themselves on the platform - and the train done gone.