No. 79 - 22nd April 2018

When I was at boarding school in Northern Ireland, I bought a set of old, ex-army, headphones. They had two terminals on the outside so that I could attach a crystal diode across them, then run a wire from one terminal to my bed springs and the other to a radiator and Hey-Presto, I had a wireless. I know it sounds unlikely, but I didn’t need a tuner. The massive, medium wave transmitter at Lisnagarvy was just a few miles away, and the Home Service simply drowned out every other station. By the time I finished school I had built my own superheterodyne receiver which I won’t even begin to explain. However, the recent activities in Syria took me right back to those days as we sat huddled around the wireless listening to what was going on in the middle of the Atlantic. The Americans had discovered a Russian ship carrying nuclear missiles to Cuba and President Kennedy was threatening to bomb the ships if they didn’t turn back. It was a pretty tense few hours as we all waited to see what was going to happen. Well, as you know, the ships finally turned back and a nuclear war was averted.

The events of last week had something of the same feeling when the Americans, the French and the British bombed the chemical weapons facilities in Syria. The Russians weren’t the target, but they were involved enough on the other side to make the outcome unpredictable. I must say, it’s so very easy to get frightened when something like this happens. After all, the consequences could be absolutely catastrophic.

On the evening before Jesus was arrested and put on trial, he was warning his disciples about what was coming up, and the picture he painted for them was quite life threatening. Then he said to them, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you”. The peace he felt at that dreadful time before his execution, came from knowing that he was doing what his Father God wanted him to do and that his life was totally in his Father’s hands. No one could do anything to him without his Father’s agreement, and that’s a very secure place to be. I must say I feel much more relaxed about life, knowing that to be true. The Apostle Paul talks about ‘the peace that passes understanding’. And that’s exactly what it is.

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