Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 35mm f2.8, Yellow Filter, Ilford FP4 plus, ISO 125
...there are many mansions.
These words of Jesus (from John 14) have ever since they were first spoken, been a source of tremendous hope and encouragement to Christians down through the centuries. No matter what this world and what this life throws at us we know that Jesus has prepared a home in heaven for all those who would seek to follow Him in this life.
I continue to be amazed by this. I know that I am not good enough to be called one of Jesus’ friends and I could write an endless list of reasons why I shouldn’t go to heaven. I have every sympathy with the Apostle Paul when he said:
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15)
Time and time again we become aware of the battle between what we know is the right thing to do and what we naturally want to do, the battle between “the flesh” and “the spirit”, often portrayed in cartoons as the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other, each trying to win the mind of the person trapped in the middle!
If the Apostle Paul struggled with this then we are in good company. He goes on to say:
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (v24, 25a)
Yes we inhabit “bodies of death” but thank God that we are rescued from them by what Jesus did for us on the cross.
The picture above brought all this to mind. I have passed by many times on my way between Ballinascarthy and Pedlar’s cross. It is a sad sight. Recently I had a bit of time to spare before a home visit so I decided to drop in. There was no one at home although it had been used fairly recently by a chain-smoking tabloid-reading occupant. I could have gone upstairs but I didn’t want to, I felt like I was trespassing. I couldn’t help but feel sad for the person who had lived here last, who had poured so much of their life into this place, in keeping it clean, in decorating, in tending the garden. I thought of the long gone days when the steam train would have been visible on the old railway behind the house; the white puffs of steam and jolly passengers making their way to or from West Cork. I could almost hear the echoes of voices, calling from the kitchen that dinner was ready or the sound of laughter as children played in the garden (if they ever did I don’t know). The tall trees stand like silent spectators all around. If they could, I wonder what story they would tell?
Everything that we take for granted every day is just so temporary, so transient that we would do well and wisely not to cling on to it too tightly. Thank God that our home prepared by Jesus in the next life is a home that is permanent and where ‘moth and rust’ do not destroy and where thieves do not ‘break in and steal’ (Matt.6:19). We do not deserve this home but we have a God who specialises in Grace – undeserved favour.