Pause for Thought – a five minute read – Week 17

Mark 7 v 31- end; Luke 7 v 11 – 15

Instant Success.

I was in my local supermarket the other day. Visiting the shops is not something that I’ve been doing recently due to the COVID 19 crisis. At the start of the crisis my daughters and their respective families did my shopping for me and delivered everything I needed to my front door. As the restrictions continued I was introduced to on-line shopping so the, supermarket now delivers everything I need to my front door.

I have to admit that on one occasion I did treat myself to a take away meal which turned out to be quite an experience. Prior to COVID restrictions I sometimes frequented a rather nice Golf Club three or four miles away from my home. It is a place where you can really splash out on a special occasion in the upstairs restaurant or have an equally nice but more modestly priced meal downstairs. Like many such establishments the present crisis forced them down the take away meals route so I thought I would try them out and treat myself to an evening meal from their menu. I ordered the meal over the telephone and was given an appointed time for its delivery.

Now my previous experience of take away meals has been that the meal is delivered anytime, or sometime, by either a young lad on a moped or someone in jeans and T shirt driving a dishevelled Vauxhall Corsa that has been rescued from the scrap yard into the service of take away meals delivery, so I expected something of the same from the Golf Club. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

To the minute of the appointed time an almost new Range Rover pulled up outside my house and out stepped a young man dressed in dark trousers, white shirt with a bow tie and a red waist coat. He carried with him a cardboard carrier bag with the club’s name emblazoned on the side. Complying with COVD 19 guidelines he placed the bag on my door step and stepped back and conversed with me from two metres. He asked if I required anything else, a bottle of wine perhaps. I looked round to make sure I was at home and transported to their restaurant, but answered that I did not require anything else. The young man wished me, ‘enjoy your meal’ and drove off in his Range Rover. I was unsure if I should go and change into my suit and get out the best knife and fork and plates only used for special occasions, before I could eat my meal.

But that was then and now I’m back to earth with a bump in my local Coop.

 Surprisingly I have missed the experience of selecting the items that I require off the shelves. There is something about selecting the specific tin, packet, tray of meat or item of vegetables that is somehow satisfying, so armed with my face covering and subjecting my hands to the sanitizer spray at the entrance and keeping to the 2m distancing marking on the floor, I entered my local Coop. My intension was to prepare a spaghetti bolognaise so I was searching for the ingredients when I noticed in the freezer cabinet a spaghetti bolognaise meal for one, a meal made in an instant. I was intrigued, it takes me 45 minutes to prepare my version and yet this was a meal ready in an instant, how do they do it.

Reading the label it transpires that the meal takes 4 minutes in the microwave oven and a further 1 minute to rest before eating. I thought that is not instant, it takes at least five minutes.

Across the aisle I noticed the selection of coffees, one of which was ‘instant coffee’. My coffee machine takes about fifteen minutes and even using granules I have to boil the kettle; again it’s not actually ‘instant’.  So what do we actually mean by ‘instant’?

At one time it was thought light was instant and what our eyes saw was happening instantaneously, but then Albert Einstein discovered that light travelled at a certain speed so consequently, by the time an activity had taken place and travelled to our eyes and had been received and had been processed by our brain, time had elapsed so it could not have been instantaneous.  (I hope you’re keeping up with this because it’s educational).

However, in the Bible we find many references to Jesus instantly changing people’s lives, particularly in relation to healing and miracles.

When Jesus was at the wedding at Cana (John 2) the water was changed into the best wine in an instant in fact even the servants carrying the jars never saw it happening until they poured it out.

In Mark 5 v 21 we read of a woman who had been suffering for many years despite the best efforts of her doctor and physician, but when she touched the edge of Jesus’s cloak she was healed instantly.

Similarly, when Jesus healed the deaf mute in Mark 7 v 31, the man’s hearing and speech returned instantly. Perhaps his spiritual hearing and his ability to shout and praise God also returned instantly.

All the miracles that Jesus performed defy human logic, but none so much as the raising to life of Lazarus  in John 11 v 43, and the raising to life of the widow’s son in Luke 7 v 11. Both these men returned to life from death instantly after a command from Jesus. As it has been said many times in human terms it is impossible but everything and anything is possible through God and his Son our Lord Jesus Christ.

But for Jesus relief from the suffering on the cross was not instant and he would have felt the pain of the nails, the crown of thorns and the spear in his side before he returned to the Father.

For us, through Jesus’s death and resurrection, our sins have been forgiven instantly and through faith we can be one with God and look forward to everlasting life in the Kingdom of Heaven.

I found all the ingredients for my Spaghetti Bolognaise but on returning home I discovered I had no spaghetti. I had Cottage Pie instead which was equally as nice, – not as nice as the Golf Club take away though.

Derek T.