During a television interview this week, well-known British actor, Robert Lindsay, was asked why he’d grown a beard – was it for a forthcoming role? “No,” the actor replied. It was to help him look more anonymous. I don’t blame him! A private life – a time to relax and recharge your batteries, a time to be yourself with those you love – is important for us all. In his book Sunrise, Sunset Rowland Croucher, the Australian writer, defines a celebrity as “someone who works all his life to become famous enough to be recognised, then goes around in dark glasses so no one will know who he is!”
These two opposing ideas, of wanting and not wanting to be known, sum up the attitude of many to a supreme being. Many in this world want to remain anonymous, to go about unseen; not like Robert Lindsay, so they can enjoy a private life, but so that they can do as they please, without reference to a supreme being who may challenge their moral choices. They try to convince themselves and others that there is no evidence for God, and therefore no accountability.
Others wish that they had a God who was interested in them. They try to earn God’s attention through religion, good works etc. Yet believing that they are no one special, they live without God because they have been sold the lie that God only accepts perfect people. The truth is that God accepts us as we are. We don’t need a log book filled with 3,000 hours of good deeds, or a briefcase filled with religious certificates. We don’t need special knowledge, or to understand hidden mysteries. We don’t have to wear or even own smart clothes, and we don’t have to be famous to receive God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. He loves you as you are, and always has done! God’s offer of eternal life is a genuinely free gift; it can’t be earned. All He asks is that you come to Him, humbly seeking a new start, prepared to give Him your future and trusting in what He did for you on that cross two thousand years ago, when He took the rap for what you and I have done. As Jesus said: “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37)
Congratulations to HRH Duke of Edinburgh who celebrated his 90th birthday today. He was honoured by Her Majesty the Queen, who conferred a new title and office upon him, that of Lord High Admiral of the Navy. Surprisingly he is even more highly thought of by villagers on the South Pacific Island of Tanna, part of the island nation of Vanuatu. “The people of the Yaohnanen tribe in Vanuatu revere him as a god, and every year on his birthday they host a celebration in the hope that he will visit them… they believe he is originally from their island, and was born from the spirit of a local volcano… legend says that a white man emerged from the volcano and travelled abroad to marry a powerful Queen.” (Source: Sky News)
How do you choose your god, or lack of one? If you smiled at the thought of South Pacific islanders worshipping HRH Prince Philip, the Queen’s consort, do you have a more reliable way of determining who is genuinely worthy of worship; who is not just called a god, but indeed who truly is God? The Dublin Declaration on Secularism and the Place of Religion in Public Life, which was adopted unanimously at the World Atheist Convention this week, included the statement that children should “be educated in critical thinking and the distinction between faith and reason as a guide to knowledge.” That is indeed good news, but will the atheists take their own advice? Biblical evidences, such as manuscript and archaeological evidence, give a strong foundation that supports the accuracy of the Bible record and give legitimacy to the faith of millions around the world who believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is not only the Jewish Messiah, but also the Creator and Saviour of the world. Following Jesus’ resurrection, Thomas still doubted. He hadn’t seen for himself. When he finally saw Him, Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:27-29)