We had initially decided not to have a holiday this summer; however, Marian (my wife) said that she would like to visit Douglas on the Isle of Man because that is where her parents had first met on holiday in the late 1930’s just before the 2nd World War and she had always wanted to visit; although it was very different now compared to some 80 years previously!

On the Sunday we went to a lovely church, St Mary’s in Douglas, and I used an app called ‘Waze’ to direct us there. As I walked down the middle aisle of the church, my phone told me “you have reached your destination” and a parishioner sitting in the pew next to me as I walked past him said “I think we have all reached our destination”. In that moment of imagination, the words became very powerful and I felt different and changed, more peaceful, but I didn’t know why. And later in the Mass the Priest related a wonderful but sad story from his first experience as a Parish Priest. He had made friends with a devoted elderly couple who attended daily Mass and he agreed to celebrate Mass for a special wedding anniversary for them. However, a week before the anniversary, the husband was taken ill. The Priest visited the couple at home and celebrated Mass for them and some friends. He distributed the host to everyone and returned with the chalice to find that the husband had passed away in the moment he had received the host. Having received the Body of Christ, the husband was immediately united with the Body of Christ.

What I am talking about here in scriptural language is referred to as eschatology ie the age to come and what will occur at the end of time. For all of us we have to deal with three questions in our life: where do I come from; what is the purpose of my life and where I am going to at the end of my life. In these troubled times these questions have become even more important and affect our peace of mind. A prominent Christian theologian Professor Tom Wright (an ex Bishop of Durham) maintains we have an incorrect view of heaven and earth and that we are living in the present age of the Kingdom of God, and in his view heaven will be joined to earth as the glory of Lord. “Just as the Temple symbolises the overlapping of heaven and earth, and the sabbath the interlocking of present and future, so these cosmological and eschatological symbols have come to life in the person of Jesus. Furthermore, human beings as made in the image of God find fulfilment in Jesus as the ultimate image-bearer.”

If you have any doubts let me take you through some thinking about our salvation and how you might find your own peace of mind. You might have heard in my homily in which I tell of the life of St John Fisher that, about to be executed he was asked if he had some last words; he said he did and asked for a bible and turned to John 17:3 and read “this is eternal life to know you the one true God and Jesus Christ who you have sent.” Of all the things that John Fisher could have said before his cruel and unwarranted death, he left us with strong words of deliverance and indeed of protection.

If you are not convinced, let me tell you another story of the person-al tragedy and inspirational faith of Horatio Gates Spafford. You can find a longer version on the internet, but in summary, by 1870, Horatio Gates Spafford was a successful Chicago lawyer with every reason to be thankful and faithful to God. A supporter of preachers, Dwight L Moody and Ira Sankey, prominent Christian evangelists formed part his circle of friends. He was due to leave America with his wife and four daughters for England but at the last minute was delayed by some urgent work and told his wife to sail without him. Tragically just off the coast of southern Ireland their ship was in collision with another ship and all four daughters were lost at sea and his wife was saved, landing in Cardiff. She sent a telegram with the words ‘saved alone’. Horatio immediately set sail to England and as he neared the spot where he lost his daughters, he wrote the following hymn: “It is well with my Soul”

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And has shed His own blood for my soul
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought (a thought)
My sin, not in part, but the whole (every bit, every bit, all of it)
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more (yes!)
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
Sing it as well
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul!
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
Sing up to Jesus, it is well!
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

If you are seeking peace of mind listen to this hymn and let the words seep into your heart and soul and you will be transformed.