Reflections: Rev John Murdoch

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WRITING this article on January 25, the day the Church remembers the conversion to the Christian faith of Saul of Tarsus’ (aka St Paul) and some may remember Robert Burns, as I count the number of days, 14, towards its publication today (February 8), I would like to reflect, quite simply, on numbers and letters.

Such as the key moments in two films I recently watched, containing a mix of both. ‘127 Hours’ and ‘Evan Almighty’.

‘127 Hours’ is a true story of how a happy-go-lucky climber, out for a day’s walking, finds himself trapped in a huge gully in Utah, his right arm unable to be moved as a massive rock fall pins him down.

His whole body is immobilised until he dramatically cuts himself free by removing part of that right arm in order to survive.

A story of courage, perseverance and inner, disciplined strength. 127 hours of being marooned, with his life hanging in the balance, never giving in; the gift of life too precious.

He would never forget the number of hours he spent alone, the numbers 127 and the letters H O U R S lingering long in his memory.

So also with Evan, the hero of the second film, ‘Evan Almighty’, who never would forget three letters and three numbers.

Evan’s alarm clock buzzed at 6 14, 46 minutes before it was programmed to ring at 7, day after day; beside the 6 14 sat the letters G E N.

Unable at first to comprehend, he eventually consulted a Bible, to find the G E N referred to the first Book in the Bible.

He turned to Genesis Chapter 6 verse 14 and there he found Noah was given an instruction to build an ARK of gopher wood.

Evan, a United States senator, was told by God to do the same.

After refusing repeatedly, he eventually agreed and obeyed.

‘Evan Almighty’ seems to be about Evan changing his attitudes and realising, through his encounters with God, there really was more to life than political status, success or the priority of money, or possessions.

I think the solo climber came to understand that too.

127 hours and GEN 6 14. A message there for you?

Certainly for me; about perseverance, about priorities and about what is really important – obedience to God, learning to listen to Him through His son Jesus Christ and His word to us in the Bible and doing what God showed Evan to do, which was showing A R KActs of Random Kindness.

That seems solid advice, don’t you think, as you read and count and think and live – to the Glory of God?

From the Rev John Murdoch, minister of Largo