16th November 2017

The Greatest Estate 

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;”
Psalm 24:1 (NIV)

The TV series Downton Abbey got millions around the world hooked on the story of the lives of an upper class family and its servants in an English Georgian country house. The portrayal of downstairs life didn’t do complete justice to the circumstances under which one and a quarter to one and a half million people worked at the turn of the nineteenth century and up to the First World War. For many of those in service their lives were ones of hardship, long hours and endless drudgery for little return.

Go back further to medieval times and much of the population was under the control of the lords of the manors. Serfs had to pay taxes to their masters. They had to work three days a week on his land before they could look after their own small plots.

But as the nineteenth century progressed, circumstances changed for many of the major land and property owners. Their wealth was eroded by death duties and inheritance tax which meant that many of the castles, stately homes, manors and mansions slid into disrepair and some were demolished or given to the National Trust, which maintains them for the nation. Others remain in private hands but have had to open their doors to the public to finance their upkeep.

So nowadays, the sons and daughters of the those medieval serfs and the children of the domestics can enjoy a day out, looking at the treasures in the houses, and walking through the glorious gardens of those who once held sway over the lives of their ancestors. But it’s not for free – there’s always an entrance fee.

However, whoever we are and whatever our background and circumstances, we all live for free on God’s estate. We can work in his fields as if they are our own, and eat the fruits without payment. We can enjoy his gardens, walk through his woods, swim in his seas, sail across his oceans, climb his mountains, and soar through his skies. Then, when we are done with either looking after his property or wrecking it, he’s offering us a whole new cleaned-up world that we can enjoy with him for endless years—all at his expense. The entry price has been paid by his Son, Jesus Christ.

Prayer
Our Father, we thank you not only for the freedom to enjoy your beautiful world but for the gift of your Son and the freedom we have in him – world without end.
Amen

Study by Hilary Buck

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About the Author:
Hilary Buck pastors Grace Communion in Lewes. Like us on www.facebook.com/GCLewes

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Lewes
The Priory School
Mountfield Road
LEWES BN7 2XN

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Hilary Buck
Email: hilaryjbuck@gmail.com

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