On The Shores Of Calvary

The events of June 6,1944 were covered heavily in the media last week. The 75th anniversary of D-Day was remembered by many who gathered on the beaches of Normandy in north-west France.The serene and peaceful coastline belies the carnage that bloodied it’s sands and reddened the surf in its none-too-distant past. The waves break clean and white now, but not so when the liberation of Europe began there in 1944. The average age of the young men who stormed the beaches was 18-21 years. Sweeping curtains of machine gun fire cut many of them down. Some never made it from the landing craft but died where they stood as the ramp went down and the bullets poured in. War is not pleasant - just ask those who've been there.

I was born a mere 3 years and 45 days after D-Day. Most of my little friends were veterans' kids. Most of our dads had been to war and mercifully made it back. I recall in my earliest years hearing “THE WAR” mentioned quite often by our elders. It was all still fresh to them with memories that would never fade. As a downy gaggle of baby ducks my friends and I perceived our warrior dads as old men who had fought a war in the distant past. It would take time and maturity before our naivety and infantile perceptions of time and reality gave way to a clearer grasp on life. “THE WAR” in question was actually fought, but days before our birth by fathers who were little more than kids themselves. I am most grateful for their sacrifice. I was raised in a free land. I have never had to make the same sacrifice for my children as they did for me.

While visiting my birthplace last month, I read again these familiar words on a memorial for fallen soldiers: “When you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today.” While we do not lessen our reverence and gratitude for those whose sacrifice has purchased our freedom, it should draw our minds to ponder afresh the sacrifice made by God to deliver us from the greatest foe of all - sin and its dire consequences. In so doing, His Beloved Son bloodied far more than the sands of Normandy when He paid the last full measure of His own life for us. He bloodied heaven’s mercy seat to ransom us from the just demands of a broken law that required our eternal extinction.

Nailed to an inglorious cross, without the cries and explosive tumult of a Normandy beach, Jesus silently drank His cup of death. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7. When it was all over, and Jesus breathed His last, we might imagine an Angel hung a golden star in the window of God's home. Of course that didn't happen. It didn't need to. There was one already there from long ago. You see God's Son was also “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8.

The plan of salvation was not an afterthought on God's part. Our redemption is not the result of an emergency response, haphazardly put together to meet the unexpected intrusion of sin. The Deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit devised their course of action before Adam was ever made; however, there was time enough for Jesus to change His mind. There was time enough to reflect and contemplate the earthly life of anguish that lay before Him - A life that would climax in the ignominious sufferings of the cross. We might well argue that an all-wise Deity would never need to second guess their own prescribed plans. After all, Deity makes no mistakes. So it's all the more incredible that with such full and absolute foreknowledge of what lay ahead, Jesus never wavered. Never saw any need to second guess the cost to Himself.

Hundreds of landing craft cut loose from their mother ships on D-Day, each laden with men who treasured the hope of triumph and personal survival. Heading into the jaws of death and hell, some would both triumph and survive. Some would not survive yet just as surely make triumph possible through the shedding of their blood. May we never forget them. Neither let us forget Him who knew the outcome of His mission long before He came here. No hope of personal survival was His to cherish. His impending fate was certain. The sure and inescapable prospect of certain death was absolute and irreversible. And yet He came. He came because beyond the suffering of the cross and the darkness of the grave He saw the final triumph to be wrought through the spilling of His blood. A triumph that would redeem and liberate forever the sons and daughters of this fallen world.

So let us be thankful for Jesus! Let us never cease to worship and exalt Him who is soon to invade this earth again. Not as a tiny babe, but as The greatest conqueror and warrior king that ever was. He who alone is King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He “Who is the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2.

Mike Thompson, Associate Pastor


SALT Leadership Conference

Join us July 5 (7PM) & 6 (starts 9:30AM and runs throughout the day), 2019. Develop your leadership abilities, grow your faith. Click here for more info. (SALT is a joint-venture of It Is Written  & Southern Adventist University.)


Vacation Bible School

Bring your children (4 to 12 year-olds) for this special ONE DAY Vacation Bible School Event on Sunday, July 14 from 10 AM to 4:30 PM, right here at Sacramento Central Church. Click here to learn more.


Click on the Calendar to find out what else is happening at Central this month - from Sabbath speakers, to events, plus much, much more!



Operation Joash Update #13

Renovations to our Cradle Roll & Kindergarten Rooms (including adjoining bathroom) are just about complete. Praise the Lord! Soon our children will be occupying their rooms once again! To support Operation Joash, please click here.


Podcasts Available!

Every Central Study Hour class and sermon can be viewed and downloaded by going to our website. This is an easy way for you to invite friends and family to listen to important Bible messages coming from Central.


Central Happenings is published by the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, 6045 Camellia Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95819 www.saccentral.org

Sacramento Central Ministry Team: Chris Buttery, Senior Pastor; Mike Thompson, Associate; Fred Dana, Associate; JeAnn Davis, Bible Instructor

Central Happenings: Chris Buttery, Editor; Chrystal White, Copy Editor/Distributor