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Thought for the weekend

By Rev Gareth Burke, Stranmillis Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Belfast

Recently we have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first man landing on the moon. It's sobering, isn't it, when moments in history are being celebrated and you can remember them?

All that footage that is being replayed at the moment of Neil Armstrong stepping on to the moon's surface - it brings back memories.

Many of us can clearly recall the exciting events of July 20, 1969 and vividly remember the first time we heard Neil Armstrong's momentous words: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

"One small step." Yet, a step of enormous significance. One small step which we are celebrating and which will be remembered for years to come. One small step which will never be forgotten.

Marvellous as it was - man going into space and walking on the moon - I would like to suggest to you that we who adhere to the Christian faith regularly celebrate something even more remarkable.

We rejoice not in the fact that someone went from earth into the heavens but that someone came from heaven to earth. That someone was, of course, none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Difficult as it may be for us to fully understand and grasp, the reality is that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, left the glory of heaven and came into this world as a man. He never ceased to be God, but became man.

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This begs the question - why did he come?

Why did he leave the glory of heaven and enter into our sinful world?

The Bible clearly answers our question: "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich" (2 Cor.8:9).

He left heaven in order to die on the cross, to bear our sin and to reconcile us to God. So here's something to celebrate.

The coming of God - Man from heaven to earth so that we, through faith in Him, might know God's forgiveness and experience the blessings of salvation.

From heaven you came, helpless babe,

Entered our world, your glory veiled,

Not to be served but to serve,

and give your life that we might live

(Graham Kendrick)

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