Thursday, August 17, 2017

Memories in Melton Mowbray

I have visited Melton Mowbray a few times over recent years. It is a quiet market town with the number of shops constantly reducing. The roads are very busy as it is a main route between Loughborough, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Grantham. Forty footers seem to specialise in winding their way through the town. One thing that did surprise me was that nearly all of the banks were represented in the town. In an age when banks are closing right, left and centre it is good to see a town where you can still 'visit the bank'.

We were in the town with a group of teenagers from a Bible Camp that I was speaking at in Harby, which is quite near by. I took the opportunity to have a look around and I have posted some photographs of the Melton Mowbray Town Estate. The Town Estate was established in 1549 and it has had a beneficial and positive influence on the townspeople of the Melton Mowbray. From the parts I saw the town is pretty and well kept. The Melton Mowbray Town Estate is in a fact an ancient charity, which was well ahead of it's time, carrying out all the functions that are now normally provided by local authorities. For example the Melton Mowbray Town Estate does or did the following:

  1. educate the children of the town (for over 320 years), 
  2. built a grammar school and other schools, 
  3. maintain the roads in the town, 
  4. constructed bridges, 
  5. provide street lighting, 
  6. provide a burial ground, 
  7. provided and maintained public wells and pumps for water, 
  8. provided a fire engine and escape ladder, 
  9. provided maintenance of the church clock and chimes, and since 1850
  10. it has been running weekly street markets. 
Wow, this is quite an amazing organisation especially in light of the length of time these services have been provided. That's old England for you. Civilisation at it's best. 

Yet, a town with such organisation and careful provision of services has still faced many days of sadness. Efficiency and even a caring community spirit cannot protect people from days of trauma and heartbreak. 

As I read the information boards about this community I was struck by the fact that this idyllic corner of England also had boards remembering the loss of life in 'The Great War'. It still had a 'Roll of Honour' remembering the souls who had given their lives for the freedom of it's people. Evil had disturbed the quiet lifestyle of it's people. The cruel hand of death has visited many a home as young men and women laid down their lives for the hard earned liberties we still enjoy.

Why should it be so I ask? Why does evil wreck everything? Why is life all of sudden shipwrecked by sadness and disaster? Is there hope of anything ever improving. You might argue that this was the past and that there will never be such wars again. My prayer is that it might not happen but I am not so sure. Most people see the potential of war in the actions and rhetoric of our current world leadership. 

The reason for the wickedness in the heart of humans is stated plainly in the Bible. Romans chapter 5 verse 12 states 'Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned'. 

This is why evil exists and why it regularly affects every generation. But what can be done about it? Evil and it's disastrous effects are inevitable and unavoidable but is there anything that can be done to change the human heart?

The teaching of scripture is that we do not have the resources within ourselves to solve the problems of sin and evil. We cannot change human hearts by education, religion or any philosophical schemes. But there is an answer!

I will end by pointing you to the only realistic answer that I know - The Lord Jesus Christ. If you have read this so far please don't stop now. I believe that you need to hear what I have to say.

The teaching of Jesus answers the questions about evil and offers the solution. The solution is based on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. He said one day when anticipating his death on the cross 'And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me -- This he said, signifying what death he should die,' John 12:32,33. The Lord Jesus was not saying that everyone would become a believer because of his death. He was saying that all sorts of people would come to him for salvation. 

Salvation and conversion is the greatest need of the human race. Our hearts are deceitful and wicked. Salvation doesn't reform our old sinful nature but make us new creations and gives us life to replace the deadness we had because of sin. 

I'll end with another quote from the Lord Jesus. It's found in Matthew chapter 18 verse 3 Jesus said 'Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven'. 

What we need is conversion, individual by individual. Personal repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

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