Sunday 21st January 2024
Though you have not seen him, you love him;
and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him
and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
for you are receiving the end results of your faith,
the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The film One Life tells the remarkable story of Nicholas Winton. He was a young stockbroker who passed through Prague in 1938 ahead of the start of World War II, and saw the plight of thousands of children there, most of them Jewish. He went on to organise trains (known as kindertransport, meaning “children’s transport”) to take children to safety before it became impossible to do so.
With the help of a small team, in both Czechoslovakia and England, he compiled the lists, made the arrangements and fulfilled the legal requirements necessary to bring the children to this country, including finding homes and sponsors for them. In all, they managed to rescue 669 children.
There are many heart-wrenching moments in the film, but one of the most unforgettable is when Winton is invited to appear on the BBC show That’s Life in 1988. His story had been largely forgotten over the years until that moment, but here he was introduced to some of the children he had been able to save.
He was invited back to a follow-up show. This time, the host Esther Rantzen asked if there was anybody in the audience who owed their life to Winton, and more than two dozen of them stood up. She then asked if there were present any children or grandchildren of those he had saved, and the whole of the rest of the audience stood! What an unforgettable moment that must have been, both for him and for them, for those who had been saved to meet their saviour.
It made me wonder what it will be like for us finally to meet our Saviour face to face. Can you imagine that moment, when millions upon millions of us are gathered before him, stretching as far as the eye can see, each one of us there because of the sacrifice he made, and only because of him? The apostle Peter says that even now, even before we see him face to face, we can be “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” Imagine what our joy will be like on that day, when “the salvation of our souls” will be complete and we will be “lost in wonder, love and praise” (Charles Wesley).
Father, we thank you for our Saviour Jesus, and thank you that we will see him; fill us even now with love for him and with that inexpressible and glorious joy. Amen.
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)