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Cnr of Park Rd and MacMahon St, Hurstville Sundays at 9:30 am and 6:30 pm

Sting

My son bowled in to my bedroom, wide-eyed and open-mouthed: “Look at this!” I’d never seen a bull ant before. He’d found it wandering near the coffee machine on the kitchen bench. It was an inch long, with a strong armoured body, and impressive sting sac. He quickly googled to discover that it belonged to the nasty category – aggressive and able to deliver multiple stings. (I was tempted to ask about my coffee, in case the monster had ruined any beans.)

There is danger more lethal. A monster that only stings once. It needs only one strike, for it performs its deadly work with skill and precision. Sometimes it strikes suddenly, and breaks everyone’s heart. Other times it waits patiently under the pillow, and then after a frustratingly long time, injects its stinger, quietly and silently, leaving no red welts, nor swollen limbs, but simply the dissolution of body and soul.

I now have no ambition to meet a bull ant in the kitchen in the middle of the night, but I will most certainly encounter that greater Stinger. But I do not fear it, for its sting is promised to be withdrawn by the Hand that once was stung, and who conquered and rose to life. The Book says so, and holds forth the promise – and even in its old section: “I will ransom them from the power of Sheol. I will redeem them from death. Death, where are your barbs? Sheol, where is your sting?”

DM 22nd March 2022

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