Monday, 14 April 2014

Always have a reverse gear

No doubt the account of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie will be told many times this year. And especially around the centenary of the event of June 28th 1914 that was to be the spark for the eventual outbreak of the Great War.
The Archduke and Sophie about to start their fateful journey

It was a remarkable series of bungles, loss of courage and a failed bomb attack that eventually resulted in the archduke's car being exactly alongside the successful assassin, Gavrilo Princip. The previous bomb attack which had wounded some of his accompanying officers, had been shrugged off by the archduke, and he pressed on with his itinerary. However as a security measure it was suggested that the route taken by his motorcade after the ceremonial formalities at City hall in Sarajevo,  should be altered from that previously published. Alas no-one told the driver.  When told of his mistake,  he braked, and because the car had no reverse gear it was slowly pushed back to enable the correct route to be taken. It was pushed just to the spot where Gavrilo Princip was waiting. After failing to disentangle his bomb, he drew his revolver instead, and shot dead Ferdinand and his wife.  And so began the sequence of events that would lead to untold misery and death for millions.

Alway have a reverse gear!

As a Christian believer there is a constant battle against the 'world the flesh and the devil'.  Sinful ways of thinking and behaving creep in so easily. Repentance is a vital spiritual skill necessary in order to maintain a healthy closeness with God.  Note these further thoughts on Psalm 51 from Whiter than the snow by Paul Tripp,
'In true repentance I confess to my selfishness. I confess that my problem isn't just that I do bad things, but that I do bad things because I'd rather have what I want than what God has willed for me...... it's not only that the battle of sin is a matter of the heart; because it's a battle of the heart, all sin is against God. Sin is rooted in worshiping the creation more than I worship the Creator. Sin is about loving myself more than I love God. Sin is about desiring to be sovereign and constructing my own kingdom rather than finding joy in the greater purposes of the kingdom of God. Sin is about forgetting God and living as if I were at the center of the universe. In my sin I exchange God's holy will for my selfish desire.'

And Cranmer collect for the second Sunday of Advent,
Merciful God, who sent thy messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the HolySpirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
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