Sunday 24 March 2019

When it's Gone, it's Gone

There's a promise and a threat in Isa 55.

Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near

I was wondering about the rich young ruler. Could have followed Jesus, had to give up on his worldly wealth, couldn't do it. How did he feel as time went by? Did he hear about the crucifixion and think, maybe I got it right? Did he hear about the resurrection and think, what happened? Did he regret all his life that he spoke to the King of the Jews, and yet did not follow? How much money would it take to make up for that?

Or imagine the thoughts of the bloke in the song Alice... 24 years of not telling her how he felt and now she's off. And to make matters worse, his new neighbour is Roy "Chubby" Brown.

 Or remember the memo about the young Fred Astaire, which in rough terms said, "Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little."

Or the chap from EMI who said that guitar bands were on the way out. About the Beatles.

Or remember that a coach at Sheffield Wednesday decided that a young player called  Jamie Vardy would never make it. That's Premier League winning, England international striker Jamie Vardy, of course.

There's a time that God offers something, says Isaiah,  and there's a time when it's no longer there. As an English proverb says, you have to strike while the iron is hot.

God's offer is free, says Isaiah. The waters of the  Sea of Galilee  are  falling. The Jordan today is drying up from over-extraction for agriculture. But even in Old Testament times, Israel and Judah weren't places where water ran that free away from the Jordan. Wells are very important Biblically, as they were physically. But here, Isaiah says, is free-running water. Here's a place where
wine and  bread are true and free.

In that place, there were  other gods that they could follow. They could put their trust in other nations - in Egypt or Persia. But Isaiah says they'd be running after false gods and created things. There's only one source of  true goodness, and  only one Love that never fails.

 But it's a time -limited promise. Seek the Lord while he may be found - call upon him while he is near.  As the retailers say, When It's Gone, It's Gone.  Though, God being eternal and ever-loving, I guess the time limit comes from our side. Isaiah says give your love to God and receive God's love back - overflowing, free  and eternal. But your best bet  is to do so today. As otherwise the other, lesser substitutes may get in your way. The weeds may grow up where your seedling of faith is struggling. Get the sunshine and water of God's love, before you've given up your chance. I remember an old man telling me that he was so old and grown in sin now that God would never have him in Church. If a door had been closed there, maybe it wasn't God bolting the door.

For some it's receiving God's love for the  first time - seeing the chance to grasp it, and holding on, before you've gone past. For others may be a chance at deepening your love of God, of knowing more of God - of serving God in a new way. If you see it, and it's there then grab it, before you're gone away from it.

But God's love is there, infinite and pure,  arms outstretched, bleeding  for you.  So if you want more of God's love, to know him better, today, then they're still there for you today. You don't need to apply for an extension.

 So come to the waters.  The bread  and wine are true and free. And they're telling of a love that, if you receive it, will never let you go.

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