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Saturday, 9 June 2012

What's in a name?

On Christmas Day, and on New Year's Day, I visited the Police Stations in my two Divisions that I knew would be open, and have officers on duty.  As mentioned in a previous post, I arrived bearing gifts in the form of bottles of my homemade Ginger Cordial and loads of mince pies.

Some weeks ago, I was in Glasgow on the day of a major Public Order event.  I knew that some of "my" officers would be on duty so, having completed the business on which I had gone into the big city, I decided to look them out.  The first ones I came across were three Sergeants from 'N' Division.  As we chatted, I asked if they knew the identity of this strange member of the public who was speaking with them (and who knew where they normally worked, etc.!).  They looked at me more intently.  Then one of them brightened up.  "I know who you are." he declared.  "You're the mince pie man!"  Well, it wasn't quite what I had expected - but I've been called a lot worse!!!

Yesterday, my wife asked me to purchase some ingredients for a vegetable lasagne that we are making for a delayed party, this evening, to celebrate my son-in-law having attained forty years of age (amazing, as I am still just 27 - and [quite] a few months!!!).  One of the items was passatta.  For those who don't know, that is sieved tomatoes (presumably from the Italian word for "passed" - as in "passed through a sieve").  However, as I lifted the carton down from the shelf, I wondered: "Why not just call it "tamatta"?  :-)

As I was working out at the gym, yesterday, one of the songs that was coming from my little MP3 player was the Gaither Trio singing the lovely old chorus "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there's something about that Name.  Master, Saviour, Jesus; like the fragrance after the rain.  Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; let all heaven and earth proclaim: kings, and kingdoms, will all pass away; but there's something about that Name."

It is a very special Name.  Almost 2,000 years ago, a wee Jewish lassie who, as was normal in the culture in which she lived, would have been no more than 14 years of age, was informed by a mysterious messenger that she was going to become pregnant, and give birth to a Son.  "You are to name Him Jesus," she was told, "for He will save His people from their sins."

That Child was, of course, almighty God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, having taken upon Himself human flesh.  We know Him as Jesus of Nazareth - the itinerant preacher Who was eventually tried unlawfully, and then crucified, and entombed.  But His death was a vicarious one.  That simply means that it was on behalf of others - you, and me, to be precise.  As He hung on that cross, He actually became sin - in all of its ugliness, and blackness, and repulsiveness; in order that we might be saved from it - its power, its penalty and, ultimately, its very presence!

And He is unique: "... for there is no other Name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12).

Today, I received a gift.  Well, I should maybe say that I was offered a gift.  I didn't have to take it.  But I knew that the couple who offered it had gone to some expense to provide it, and it would have been nothing less than churlish to have rejected it!  Yet that is exactly what so many do with the offer of salvation, that cost not cash, but the very lifeblood of God the Son.  I trust that you, who read these words, will not be among that number; but that you will gratefully receive that gift - that "inexpressible gift" (II Cor.9:15) - by confessing your sinfulness; repenting of your sins; and confessing that "Jesus is Lord", to the glory of God the Father.

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