A Vicar Writes: June 2018

Last weekend was a scorcher! Everyone was enjoying the sunshine, the shops were selling BBQ food and the sun cream was flying off the shelves. We managed to enjoy an afternoon in the garden soaking up the sun and playing in the paddling pool (not sure who enjoyed it more, the kids or me!!)

One of the things I like to do for relaxation on a sunny day is polish the car, I know for many it’s a chore but for me it’s a pleasurable activity. I take real pride in seeing my car glistening. I have a range of different lotions and potions that I use for pre-washing, washing, then polishing and finally waxing. I have sprays to make the tyres twinkle and potions to make the glass glisten! I like nothing more that stepping back when its done and enjoy looking at it in all its glory!  (it’s the same with my motorbike as well!!!)

The downside to this activity is that ultimately it’s a waste of time and effort. No sooner have I put the buckets and cloths away, and usually the rain clouds begin to gather (in fact it has become a running joke in our house that whenever I wash the car, it’ll rain the same day!) And if it doesn’t rain, something worse happens – my wife shouts out the immortal words ‘I’m just nipping out…’ and that’s the car gone! Before I know it, the car comes home having been driven through every puddle in Liverpool (at least that’s how it looks to me!)

So, this happened the other day. I’d finished polishing the car, it was gleaming, and I mean gleaming! As is the norm, Nikki then headed out with the kids to visit her sister. The next day I was heading off to the match when to my horror I sat in the car and couldn’t see a thing out of the windscreen. It was splattered with a whole army of kamikaze flies (as was the entire front bumper and bonnet) they had left copious amounts of blood splatter and stains all over the front, it was filthy!

I was a little annoyed to say the least! However, after returning from the match, I proceeded to clean up the front of the car. Now the beauty of applying wax and polish is that generally things just wipe off and its so easy to clean! And thankfully this was the case.

Why am I sharing this with you…?

Well as I was wiping the bonnet, I began to see myself in it. (literally, my reflection) but the thing is, it was stained and filthy, it was a broken reflection, a broken me looking back. The amazing thing is this, the more I polished, the cleaner my reflection became, until ultimately it was crystal clear and stain free, no longer a broken image.

I began to see the blood as a picture of Jesus blood shed for me, that on the cross, he became filthy and dirty, stained and sinful – IN MY PLACE! And its only through his blood, that we can be made clean and whole. It is through his sacrifice alone that we are washed! (And just like my bonnet, made clean and pure). And just as the wax polishes out the blemishes and tiny flaws in the paintwork, so it is with his Holy Spirit living in us. As we allow God to clean us, to purify us, to mould us each day, he gently ‘polishes’ out the blemishes and we are slowly changed by him. And the amazing thing is this – Yes, we are going to get dirty again (just like the car) but God, in his Grace, each day, simply takes out the polishing cloths and is willing to make us whole again!

‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness’. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

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