Reflection for the last Sunday after Trinity, Bible Sunday.

“The hour is come….” Jesus, in John 12:23.

‘Time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot!’ Michael Altschule, American attorney.

How times have changed! As the clocks went back last night, I remember that it used to take a while to reset all the clocks in the house when I was growing up but now so many are digital and they change automatically. The clocks didn’t change until 1916, when the Government introduced the idea at the suggestion of the builder William Willett who didn’t live to see this happen as he died of influenza the year before. It was done during the First World War when the conflict was taking its toll and productivity needed to be increased, Germany doing the same just a month before. 

Often, like Willett, we don’t see the results of our influence but, as the clocks are reset, it’s a good time to consider what we might want to change if we could literally go back in time and change the outcome of some of the things that have happened. What could be chosen? Today being Bible Sunday, the war ongoing now between Israel and Gaza has its roots in religious conflict thousands of years ago with the city of Gaza having Egyptian, Philistine and Israelite as well as Greek and Roman rule. People of many different nationalities began to live there and it was the place where Sampson was imprisoned, where the prophets Jeremiah, Amos, Zephaniah and Zachariah prophesied judgement upon it and where Philip shared the gospel with an Ethiopian eunuch who was then baptised. A place of conflict and hope, then and now. If only the conflict then could have been fully resolved at the time…….

Set into the floor of the Central Lobby in the Houses of Parliament in Westminster are the words, in Latin, of King Solomon, who reigned over 900 years BC. He “had dominion over all the region ….. from Tiphsah to Gaza….. And he had peace on all sides around him.” 1 Kings 4:24. The words are from Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house the builders labour in vain” and are a reminder that the Bible has been central to the foundations of this country, as in many other nations too. Being an anthology of 66 books with different purposes such as history, poetry, teaching, biography and prophecy and sometimes termed Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth, the contents of the Bible are accepted by believers as the sacred word of God, enlightening every age with God’s word to his people. Here in Wales, the story of young Mary Jones walking many miles for a Bible in Welsh from the Methodist minister Thomas Charles in Bala lead to the foundation of the British and Foreign Bible Society, local needs extending worldwide. From small beginnings, ripples spread out in response as action was taken by those who had influence. 

As the terrible situation in Gaza and Israel continues, as well as in Russia and Ukraine and all places of conflict and division, it can only be hoped that those with influence will be able to make a powerful difference. An Israeli woman, Yocheved Lifschitz aged 85, was released from being a hostage this week, her husband still being held captive, and as she was freed she shook the hand of one of the Hamas terrorists who had shown a little kindness during her captivity and wished him peace. A photo of that small sign of hope and generosity went around the world but, with so many displaced, injured and grieving people running short of essential supplies and enmity seeming to increase on all sides, will peace ever eventually prevail in our time?

With my prayers; pob bendith,

Christine, Guardian.