Maria Dyer was born in 1837 on the mission field in China where her parents were missionaries. Both her parents died when Maria was a little girl, and she was sent back to England to be raised by an uncle. The loss of her parents, however, did not deter her young heart from the importance of sharing the gospel. At age sixteen she, along with her sister, returned to China to work in a girl’s school as a missionary herself. Five years later, she married Hudson Taylor, a man well-known for his life of mission, ministry, faith, and sacrifice.
Here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church we've been following a series of sermons that walk with the Hebrew people through the desert, as they move towards their promised land. This week we are taking a look at one of their ultimate low points. Moses has gone up the mountain to receive the 10 commandments. (We talked about the commandments in last weeks sermon “Survival Strategies”.)
In their impatience for his return, the people turn to idolatry and create a golden calf. God is not pleased.When I say “not pleased” it appears God is ready to forget the whole mission and find another group of folk to carry out God's purposes. (You can read the story in Exodus 32:1-14.) Luckily for the Hebrews, they have one champion who is not ready to throw in the towel. His name is Moses. It is Moses who intercedes with God, pleads for the peoples salvation, and becomes their advocate.
The people haven't treated Moses with much respect throughout their whole desert journey. It is due to their impatience with him, that they have quickly turned to idols. They have constantly questioned his leadership and complained about his decisions.
Yet Moses is faithful. He knows that the mercy of God was always greater than God's anger. He knows that God's promises were never made in vain. Because of the faithfulness of Moses, the journey continues and moves forward with new hope and purpose.
In the face of criticism or opposition it is easy to become disheartened and fall into unfaithful actions. That was not the way of Maria Dyer or Hudson Taylor. That was not the way of Moses, or of any great spiritual leaders that have blazed a trail of light and become shining examples of faithfulness for us to follow.
We do well to think upon those who demonstrate sacrificial love. It was God’s love for us that sent Jesus into the world to die for our sins, and it is that kind of self giving love that our world needs so greatly today. Let us continue to let our little light shine. It only takes one candle to remove a whole lot of darkness!
For some music... an unexpectedly uplifting performance of the gospel classic “This Little Light of Mine” on “Britain's Got Talent.”
The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D.