Precious

Yesterday we were at the wedding of two young friends - a couple we’d got to know when they were students attending our church. The invitation had come as a complete surprise - we neither of us felt we could have ‘mattered enough’ to deserve an invitation to their wedding. Sometimes it’s a case of ‘how wrong can you be?’

It was a very special, blessed day, witnessing the ceremony, and celebrating it with them.There was much joy and laughter, as well as moments of seriousness and sadness mixed in - life’s rich tapestry in microcosm.It was made more precious because others from that same ‘student crowd’ were there too. It was so good to see them all, and to spend time with them, celebrating and catching up with what’s happened to us all in two years of ‘pandemic life’. A real blessing, and quite cathartic to see them and spend time with them, after all that’s gone on.

This morning I went out for a walk, and some much-needed solitude after all the noise and blessed busy-ness of yesterday.

Time to think, and to pray, but most of all, to be quiet.

And to listen.

Down to the estuary it is then!

Just me, mud-flats, the haunting cries of the waders, and a view of the Lake District across Morecambe Bay. Oh, and God. He was there too.

As I thought about those young folk, both the pair getting married and the others, and prayed for them all - two other couples coming especially to mind - a snippet of Old Testament scripture popped, unbidden, into my mind:

You are precious in my sight…

Ripped, presumably, right out of its context and therefore lacking much of its meaning.

But.

Yes.

‘Precious in my sight’ sums up pretty well how I feel about those folks really. Quoting from the ‘Message’ version:

That's how much you mean to me!
That's how much I love you!
I'd sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.

I don’t have a creation to give, but the sentiment is true nonetheless.

Anyway, being me, I wasn't satisfied with the snippet, so I looked up the passage. It’s in Isaiah 43 - a passage about God’s love for His people and his plan to redeem them. At the time it was written that people was Israel, and it was taken by them to be exclusive, but as we have seen since, principally through the incarnation of Jesus, it really includes all the peoples of the earth. We are all precious in His sight.

Every.

Single.

One.

Of.

Us.

And all of us together too!

I think Christianity often causes us to forget that. There’s so much preached and believed about how we’re mere maggots, wriggling and writhing upon the stinking corpse of the world our ‘fall’ ruined; utterly unworthy of anything other than destruction…

That we forget that, before that, God saw this world, including humanity and all else that He had made, and pronounced it to be ‘very good’. In our very essence then, we, and it, are ‘very good’. We may not be perfect; we may have marred the perfection God made - but we are still ‘good enough’ in His sight, still sufficiently worthy of His love, that He was prepared to come and become one of us; living as part of His creation, and dying as one of us…

Before rising again on the third day to glorious life!

We are precious in His sight.

Do not forget that.

Copyright Phil Hendry, 2022