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The Word on the Week

A Chile Place 15th October 2010

The news this week has been dominated by the thrilling final act of rescue of the 33 Chilean minors trapped 2,300 feet down the copper and gold mine in the Atacama Desert. All 33 were in remarkably good shape only Mario Gomez, the eldest, remains in hospital with pneumonia. It has been a huge triumph of human resourcefulness and engineering brilliance to bring the men back alive from the bowels of the earth. Irish engineering played its part in the rescue. The Irish drill used in the bore holes sucks out the drilled material through its hollow core and sends it back to the surface. This minimises the chance of rock fracturing as the drill passes through it. Whilst the rescue is of heroic proportions it should be remembered that Chile lost 35 miners in accidents last year. Clearly mining is still a very hazardous business for the men who go down the shaft. The fragment of the old children’s song comes to mind; “Don’t go down the mine Daddy”. Even with all the safety precautions, mining is not a good career choice! Where was God in all of this? Jimmy Sanchez, was in no doubt about God’s presence. “There are actually 34 of us,” the nineteen-year-old miner wrote in a letter sent up from the mine on Tuesday, “because God has never left us down here.” Jimmy was only echoing the words of the Psalmist, If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Psalm 139:8 Certainly He was much prayed to – along with every other saint in the calendar! So how are we to pray? When the worst seemed certain, Jesus pleaded with God to avoid it. It was not a prayer confident of bright tomorrows: “Take this cup from me. But not my will, but yours be done.”(Saint Matthew Chapter 26 verse 39) It was grounded in the realism of prophesy which was about to be fulfilled. God was working out His purposes in the miners rescue just as He was working out His purposes in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Only, in the case of Jesus, it was our rescue He had in mind. As Saint Paul puts it in the opening paragraph of his letter to the Galatians, “Who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever”.  It has been a great rescue there in the Chilean desert but the greatest rescue of all was made at Calvary – and whether we are working below ground or above ground we need to call out to Jesus, the only one who can rescue us for time and eternity.