Applause rippled round the realm on Thursday evening. Encouraged by the young royals, George, Charlotte and Louis, many headed onto their doorsteps to “clap for our carers.”
We are all very grateful for the service and sacrifices of NHS staff. Appreciation for the NHS is deep in our national psyche. Medical care free at the point of need is seen as a British birthright. An article of faith almost?
Sociologists suggest that for many in Britain today, trust in the welfare state has replaced faith in God. Professor Linda Woodhead, has even claimed that “the local doctor” is “the latter-day vicar.”
King George VI called for a national day of prayer for God to save us from disaster at Dunkirk. Our current royals called on us to clap for the NHS carers who we trust will save us from disaster during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Is this one reason why our nation is shaken at the moment? What if the NHS cannot cope? What if there are not enough ventilators? What if there aren’t enough doctors and nurses to treat those who are ill? The need to “protect the NHS” has prompted our national lockdown.
We all sincerely hope that the present measures will help preserve life. But, for all the good that the NHS does and the wonderful support it provides, in a critical area it is powerless. It can often heal the body but cannot save the soul.
We are all know that we are more than atoms. Our consciences tell us that there is a moral dimension to our existence. We all know that, however healthy we try to be, our current bodies won’t last forever. But we don’t like to think of what happens then, to think of our souls which live on.
That’s why Jesus often urged his hearers to think beyond the present moment. What if a wonder drug were developed? Or the coronavirus vaccine that we are waiting for? Here’s Jesus’ challenge:
What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? (Matthew 16:26)
We might gain a few more years of life, but our current bodies won’t last forever. In all the present concern for our bodies, have you given thought to your soul?
Jesus taught us two great commandments. He said: love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself. We know that we’ve not met that standard. We’ve broken the two great commandments. We need a Saviour to escape God’s judgement.
Jesus is that Saviour. He provides a “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19). An anchor keeps a boat safe in a storm because it is fixed to something solid. Jesus is the immovable rock to which the souls of all who trust in him are anchored.
Jesus is the only one to love God with all his soul. He kept God’s law on behalf of those who trust in him, and died to take the punishment that they deserve for not keeping it. Jesus offers forgiveness to all who admit they have broken God’s law; to all who turn from their wrongdoing to trust in his perfect life and death as their substitute.
We thank God for all those working hard to preserve our bodies. But, most of all, we can be eternally grateful that Jesus died so both body and soul can be saved. Do you know him as your Saviour? Is your eternal destiny anchored to him?
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