Because of expected ice storm on Sunday January 9, only 8:30 worship will take place onsite.

December 7, 2023

A Pastoral Word. . . Rescued

Pastor Kevin Freeman

December 7, 2023
The Cromarty Firth of Northern Scotland boasts many picturesque seaside cliffs, symbols of the harsh beauty of this region. Two years ago, on a tiny strand of beach at the base of one of these cliffs, a strange sight was reported. It was a sheep! No one knows exactly how the sheep – dubbed “Brittain’s loneliest sheep” – managed to become trapped in such an inhospitable environment. The most likely explanation is that she suffered a fall and managed to both survive and subsist on the land since then.

It took two years for the sheep to be rescued. A group of climbers decided to rescue this local, woolen celebrity by descending with specialized equipment and hoisting her atop the cliff. The Scottish SPCA was notified about the rescue and was there to inspect the health of the lamb, which they named Fiona.

This time of year, it’s hard to read a story like that and not think of our God who rescues us. Just as Fiona had no hope of rescuing herself, we people were without hope of rescuing ourselves from the curse of sin, until God came to our rescue. In Fiona’s case, local farmer and experienced climber Cameron Wilson saw an article about her plight. Instead of simply feeling bad for the sheep’s predicament, Cameron decided to come to her rescue.

The prophet Isaiah describes fallen humanity like straying sheep. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned--every one--to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6 ESV). During Advent, we are reminded that Jesus came because we needed rescuing. The people of Israel thought a military rescue was needed, but God sent Jesus to be a Shepherd to His people. The prophet Micah wrote of the coming Messiah, “And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth” (Micah 5:4).

Jesus likely had these prophetic passages in mind when he declared, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

We look forward to once again celebrating the birth of our Savior, but who among us is stranded without hope? In 2 Corinthians 5:20, Paul reminds us that we are ambassadors for Jesus to bring people a message of rescue. This rescuer role likely does not involve donning climbing gear and descending a cliff; it may involve a conversation with a friend or an invitation to a neighbor.

Whom have you spotted stranded without Christ? Will you bring Christ’s hope to them?

Your partner in ministry,
Kevin Freeman
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