2020 will be a year we will never forget!
The Covid-9 virus and now massive worldwide protest following the cruel death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police department. I was quite surprised at the protest in Bristol recently, which saw the statue of Edward Colston thrown into the water. My initial reaction was of the danger of spreading the virus with so many people on the streets in close proximity. I have thought further about our statues ...
When I look at a statue I look up in more ways than one. I look up because they tower above me and I look up because they must have done something great. Like Sir Francis Drake, ever since my schoolteacher told amazing stories of how Drake with a rag-tag fleet of ships tore apart the elite Spanish Armada, he has been a childhood hero of mine. I think I knew he was involved in the slave trade but had pushed that thought to the back of my mind. He was a west countryman and a “legal” pirate. Someone who laughed at danger and enjoyed a game of bowls!
We can make many excuses for the slave trade including “everyone was doing it” and “no one knew any better back then”, but that isn’t so. What about John Newton, the writer of the hymn, “Amazing Grace”. He was a slave trader, womaniser, atheist and the worst profaner of his day. During a terrible storm at sea, when he thought the end was near, he called out to God and was converted. Although he carried on with the slave trade for a few years, eventually he stopped and became a Christian minister. He spoke against the trade and influenced William Wilberforce amongst others.
Maybe the recent protest and the mainly young people involved are like the prophets in the Old Testament standing up against injustice. We must never forget our history, but we must learn from it.
As we review the notable people of the past, we see that everyone seems to have flaws in their character. No surprise there! St. Paul said, ‘For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard”.
Is there any hope for us in 2020?
I will leave you with the very of the hymn –
Amazing grace; how sweet the sound that saved a wretch lie me.
I one was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see.
Finally, I will finish Paul’s Quotation, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty of our sins”.
Jesus Christ is for us; He will guide us and be with us in the months ahead.
Stay safe. Love to you all.