Community faces death to spares lives of greater community

THE Peak District village of Eyam is famous for a 1665 act of heroism. After opening a consignment of cloth from London the local tailor died within days, the rest of his family following.

Before long it became clear to the rector, William Mompeson that the village had been struck by the Black Death. The villagers decided to quarantine the village. Here was an act of redemptive suffering - the willingness of a community to face death so that a greater community could be spared.

The book of Genesis records the story of Joseph who, as Prime Minister of Egypt, when men from Canaan came for corn, learned his father and younger brother Benjamin were still alive and demanded Benjamin be brought to meet him. In assuring his father Jacob he would be personally responsible for the youth, Judah became Benjamin’s surety.

The Rector of Eyam went surety for his village and paid for it. Judah went surety for Joseph and delivered. Jesus is our surety, guaranteeing all who trust in him to bring them eventually home to glory.