ABOVE: Spectacular sunset near the beautiful Isle of Skye.. photo by Maggie Barclay
As a boy travelling home to Kyle of Lochalsh in Wester Ross, as soon as we reached the lonely sign for Skye and Lochalsh just beyond the Cluanie hydro dam, my dad would say we are ‘home’…still 25 miles to go but,tired and a bit bored, I had to agree and despite living most of my life in the central belt, seldom did I pass that sign without being reminded of his words echoing down the decades..My future home is heaven and as Paul reminds us my citizenship is in that place where Jesus is at the very centre.
If you come from Lewis , then no matter how long you have been away you go ‘home’ whenever you travel there. I now feel totally a lowlander to the extent that some people from up north have said that my Highland accent has largely gone apart from when I am on a rare occasion these days speaking in public.
The real home for me is heaven, very easy to glibly talk about it, but to be almost there is a comforting as well as challenging thought. Is it a real place? YES! Decades of reading and considering the bible has completely convinced me!
According to the skilled, helpful and concerned medical people who look after me, my days are truly numbered so my home forever is heaven. The destiny of my soul is now uppermost in my mind as the days and weeks flash by.
I take my comfort at this time from the great scriptural principle that Christ died for the ungodly and the sinner, my own relentless, entrenched sins condemn me in the sight of a just God; despite this, that once and for all sacrifice of the son of God on the cross has earned me complete forgiveness and full salvation for all eternity. Much of the Old Testament is a shadow of Jesus, the true light, who came into the world.
It still seems incredible…Too good to be true that God the son should take my punishment…Amazing love…Do I not have to do something? God who created the universe is absolutely just and also the God of love. My pride tells me to take action in my own strength. God tells me that his son has willingly taken my punishment; the begining of Romans tells me that to be right with God I need to be justified by faith. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. How liberating is that? The whole of Romans 8 breathes out a secure confidence, it encourages me greatly right now, just as as it has helped and delighted believers over the past two millennia.
As I write on 25th July 2017, although along with many good friends, I ask my maker to heal me knowing that, healing or not, his plan is perfect, at least to some degree I enjoy a peace which cannot be described. The bible indeed states that this brand of peace “passes all understanding”
Does modern enlightened thought even within the church not negate much of biblical teaching? My response has to be that, having questioned many seemingly contradictory themes , so very often a good indisputbleanswer has come up. Here is an example: At a bible study a number of years ago we talked about the Genesis account of creation. An ancient minister from a very different tradition, having been told by his mentors in the 1930s not to bother with Genesis, had learned over many years that there is a depth and indeed layers to that important part of scripture which thinking people will continue to grapple with.
Hopefully you will not get the impression that I have everything sorted out into neat little compartments, but we worship and trust in a God whose ways are past finding out! The whole thrust of the bible is redemption through Jesus Christ, the son of God and who is the way, the truth and the life.
Eternal destination very much on my mind, I urge you to properly read the bible for yourself and let it speak to you!