Day Total (crew): 0.25 miles, 0 locks
Overall Total: 478.5 miles, 390 locks
Distance to Bath: 57 miles, 78 locks
Before I tell you anything else about today I have some wonderful news. After nearly three months of Sabbatical I am sure that family, friends, Church family and fellow clergy will be over the moon to hear my news today!
I’ve found Jesus!
Yes, he’s on top of the Catholic Church on London Road. I can see him from the boat!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sorry couldn’t resist! It also gives me a chance to show you one of my favourite cartoons, but more of that later.
This morning the plan was to move the boat up to Greenham Marina and empty the cassettes, fill the water and top off the diesel before heading west (where the price will almost certainly go up!). All accomplished in blazing sunshine but we didn’t turn around and head back to my moorings at Greenham Mill – We have moved, finally after nearly three weeks.
Only a quarter of a mile, but it is VERY strange to be somewhere else. We are actually moored at the edge of Victoria Park and it’s lovely!
After lunch Joel and I went for a wander through the West Berkshire museum which is only small but very well curated (organised and signposted) and very interesting!
After some shopping and some refreshment (and some baby geese on the way!) it was a good time to watch a film together and then tea and our lovely friends Bertram and Julie came to visit the boat. A nice end to a lovely day.
So – back to my rather awful joke and one of my favourite cartoons.
Hint: If the cartoon makes no sense you haven’t spotted who is hiding behind the curtains!
Christians often talk about “finding Jesus”. It’s shorthand for what happens when we finally realise that Jesus actually is who he said he was and that life changing moment can be an incredibly special memory. But sometimes we talk about him as if he was the TV remote control. “He’s here! I’ve found him. Someone stuffed him down the back of the settee!”
What is interesting is that the Bible often talks not about us finding Jesus but about him finding us.
Luke’s Gospel chapter 15 has three lost stories. Click on the picture to read them.
A sheep that is lost so the shepherd leaves 99 others to go and find it.
A precious coin that leads to a diligent search.
A lost son – in fact two lost sons – and a Father who desperately wants them back.
So many times Jesus tells stories about God seeking us.
There is one parable (story that Jesus told) that you can read differently. It’s this one.
44 ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Matthew Chapter 13 verses 44 to 46
The way I was always taught this parable was that I was the man finding a great treasure (Jesus/faith/forgiveness) in a field and I was to give all I had to possess it, or that I was the merchant who finds faith of such great value that I would sell everything I have to own it.
For a long time that as how I thought of these parables. That faith in Jesus was so precious that I should give up everything to pursue Him.
It’s true! It is! I still remember the day when faith became real to me. God was no longer distant, but present and caring and I have chosen to follow wherever he has led me – to Southampton, to Newbury, to Nottingham, Rotherham and Doncaster (and for the last three weeks back to Newbury again!) Nothing was worth more to me that following Him.
But a couple of years ago this parable did something wonderful in my head. It flipped. Just like the famous picture of a vase that suddenly becomes two faces.
And suddenly Jesus is the man who buys the field to gain the treasure and He is the merchant looking for pearls and finds a special one.
And the wonderful truth is that “I” am the treasure and the pearls. It is Jesus who gives up EVERYTHING he has, for the sake of saving you and ME!
Have I found Jesus? Only because he came looking for me first; only because he gave up all the riches of heaven to live a human life and die so that my wrongdoing – my sin – could be forgiven.
Have I found Jesus? Only because he took me at my word one dark night in a valley on the western edge of Sheffield when I said that I needed help and he came and found me. Only because when I forget about Him he never forgets about me.
Yes, we do have to seek and search and pursue. That is all part of the way we encounter Jesus, but to find him?
He found me!
I am the wretch the song refers to!
It is all about Him, not about me!
Are you feeling worthless or unvalued today? Are you feeling that the world would be a better place if you had never existed? Or are you just feeling like everybody else’s opinion seems to matter but not yours?
Remember this. To Jesus, you are a pearl of great price and He will give up everything for you to be close to Him forever. To Jesus, you are a precious part of His flock and if you wander away he will come and find you and bring you home. To Jesus, you are a precious child and whatever you do, and wherever you go, He will always throw his arms around you and welcome you home.
I have NEVER regretted saying “Yes” when Jesus offered me His hand. I am convinced that you would never regret it either.
Have I found Jesus?
No! He… Found… Me!