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Spiritual Matters by Rev Chris Sparks

Pointing the Way

This isn’t easy to write! No, it’s not that the subject matter is elusive or difficult to contextualize; or because the topic is extremely sensitive, and I have to watch my P’s and Q’s! No!
The reason is much more basic. You see, just like Dr. Foster, we’d gone to Gloucester early this week to visit family. They’ve been renovating and extending their home and one job waiting to be done was to fit safety-railing to the back deck. It was an opportune moment to lend a hand.
Cutting the pre-fabricated aluminum rails to length to fit neatly between the posts was no problem. I didn’t have my cordless angle-grinder with its magic cutting disc with me, but we did have a hacksaw. All good – except that on one memorable occasion, with the final stroke of the saw, the scrap-end gave way so suddenly that my finger struck the metal and split the tip of my finger open.
Gory details aside, that’s the worst place to suffer a long, deep cut – and the worst finger to cut: My pointer-finger!
So here I am, typing away, carefully avoiding using said pointer finger – which is of course, encased in a dressing.
Perhaps we overlook the importance of some things in life. And it’s not until they’re taken away or rendered useless that we realize just how much we relied upon them.
Pointer fingers usually do their primary job very well. They point – as in giving directions. And fortunately, I can still do that. My pointing could even be enhanced if I were to colour the dressing with bright fluorescent paint for instance.

But there’s another, more important way we can give illustrated directions to others than by using a convenient, natural digit. We can help others to find their direction through life by pointing to the teaching and example of Jesus as the way we’ve been designed to live!
This led me to think of John the Baptist!
I don’t know what will be said about me when I’m gone, but I like what could be said about John the Baptist – and hope that could be said about me. For John was a man who pointed people to Christ.
I’m told that when you’re old and open the newspaper, the first thing you look for are the obituaries. Perhaps it’s natural to wonder what people will say about us when we’re gone!

Of John, we can confidently say he was a man who pointed people to Christ. And a pointer, for the record, is a person who is less interested in himself and more interested in the person he’s pointing to. The scriptures clearly show that John the Baptist is a pointer because when he sees Jesus coming, he proclaims to those within the sound of his voice: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” And as he’s saying this, I can imagine in my mind that his arm is extended, and his finger is pointing to Jesus.

So, my train of thought has led me to consider the influence for good we can have on others by encouraging them, showing them a good example and pointing clearly to Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Hmmm! That must be the best, most satisfying tribute of all.