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Friday, 26 February 2010

Model railways, and sanctification!

One of the joys of retirement is the freedom to do things during normal working hours! Today, for example, I was able to visit Model Rail, Scotland, 2010 - an exhibition of model railways built by various Clubs throughout Scotland, and even from Newcastle (England). It is many years since I have had a model railway and, to be honest, mine wasn't much more than a train set! I was, therefore, totally amazed at how the hobby has progressed during those years.

The Exhibition was superb. There were layouts representing many parts of Scotland, together with Canada, Germany, Italy, and Wales. The sizes of the models ranged from the large '1' gauge, down to one of which I had never heard before - 'T' gauge, with a distance between the track rails of only 3mm!! There were amazing sound effects; carriage doors that opened and shut; new types of controller that allow up to three locomotives to be independently operated on the same stretch of track - without the complication of wiring up isolated sections.

The whole set-up of each layout was a work of art. Countryside; roadways (with operating trams in some cases!); harbours with realistic-looking water; small boats and medium-sized vessels; railway turntables; passengers on the platforms; etc., etc. As I looked, I realised that, in the years since I had last had a train set, the models had become more and more like the real thing!

On Sunday, I was preaching on the subject of Sanctification - the process through which the disciple of Jesus becomes more like Him. I thought of that, to day, as I wandered around the Exhibition. I asked myself if, during those years, I had become more like the real thing - even Jesus?! That should, of course, be my constant desire, and my focussed aim.

The other thought that struck me, today, concerned the dedication of the modellers. The time that is spent building, maintaining, and improving the layouts is a challenge to me and, I suspect, to many followers of Jesus. When I considered the time that they devote to their hobby, and compared it to the time that I tend to spend in the study of God's Word, and in prayer (two irreplacable activities in the process of sanctification), I was humbled. Yet their labour brings about something that, while very beautiful, is transient. The process of sanctification - that is, of course, a gracious work of Father God - leads to an eternal reward as, in glory, I see the Lord as He is; know Him as I am known; and spend eternity in the praise and worship of the "Lamb Who was slain from before the foundation of the world." (Rev.13:8).

I may well return to the Exhibition tomorrow - this time, remembering to take my camera! God grant that He may see as big a difference in me, as time passes by, as I have done in the world of Model Railways.

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