Radio Leicester Thought for the Day

John Denney, 4 October 2000


Did you see those pictures yesterday of our victorious Olympians returning from Sydney?  Did you see them, proudly holding out their gold and silver and bronze medals?  Did you see their smiles?  As Katharine Merry, bronze medallist in the 400m, said: “You'll see a smile from us for a long time.”


Did you see those other pictures?  The picture of 12-year old Muhammad al-Durrah hiding behind his father moments before four Israeli bullets smashed into his young body and ripped his life away?  And then an ambulanceman trying to help is killed by another Israeli fusillade.  These were scenes of utmost horror.  To make it worse, the conflict was in Netzarim in the Gaza Strip, part of what we call the Holy Land.  The blood of the fifty Palestinian dead this last week has defiled the very ground that Jesus once walked.


And the cause of the bloodshed is: who owns Jerusalem and the West Bank?  Back in the mists of time, God gave the land to Abraham’s children.  You can read all about it in the 12th chapter of the book of Genesis.  The trouble is that the Palestinians and the Israelis both claim descent from Abraham.  They both claim to be Abraham’s children, so both claim to own the land.  And so they have fought for years, and they continue to fight.


So here’s a question for you.  What better represents the aspirations of the six billion people who populate the earth?  Is it those who train and persevere and strive to do their best and maybe even achieve their goals through dedicated effort?  Or is it those who turn to weapons to pursue their ends, who seek to obtain by force what their failure to negotiate denies them?  In short, is it the hopeful, or the hopeless who best represent humankind?


I know which side God is on.  The apostle Paul sets it out quite neatly: I keep working towards that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.  No, dear friends, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.  [Philippians 4:12b-14, New Living Translation]


And the question I leave with you today is this: which side are you on?  Are you looking back, or are you moving forward? 


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