Gold Cup

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Revelation 17:4 – The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: "Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations." And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. (ESV)

It is Gold Cup race day at Cheltenham Racecourse, a big event with the attraction of a major sport cup-tie. The town centre has the cosmopolitan feel of London or New York, with the pace being quickened by the anticipation of hoards of visitors scurrying here and there to find bargains, food, and parking. Even the pigeons were bustled by the crowds.

In the middle of the mayhem stood a man about five-foot-six-inches tall with a magnetic blackboard behind him and the word "Mission" in bold letters at the top. He was preaching the gospel. Everyone just rushed on by, and the man appeared to be invisible to them. I decided to go a little further on, turn around, then return and investigate on the way back to my desk.

As I passed in the flow of the crowd, a tall man in excess of six-foot-three-inches loomed towards me, and thrust a leaflet into my hand — I have that sort of face. The leaflet talked about peace and inner peace through God, quoting various verses, such as Philippians 4:6-7 — "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (ESV)

Had the race-goers known that the end of the world would be this afternoon, they might not have ignored the men and their blackboard so readily. It made me consider the juxtaposition of the lack of interest in these men and their blackboard in the midst of a crowd, and the attention paid to the blackboards giving out the latest odds at the races.

Revelation 17:14 – They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful. (ESV)

All things are for a time only; next week the race-goers will have departed once more, and what passes for normality will return. Conversely, Jesus — the absolute Victor — is always here, waiting to listen. We can always rely on Him not to pass us by.

Prayer: Lord, we are so often busy and made restless by all the hustle and bustle of life. Forgive us our sins, we ask; bring Your healing salve to restore peace to our beings today. Amen.

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Rod Marshall <>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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