As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will to seek post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer
Wednesday 20th May 2020
‘Fix in us thy humble dwelling’
In the midst of all the gloom about Covid19, the are occasional snippets of genuine humour. Take for example the lovely flower displays that appear in most Aberdeenshire villages. In one village someone reported how the flower displays were being vandalised by an elderly lady pulling out the tulips, scattering the bulbs over the pavement and leaving other flowers uprooted. Without mentioning the village by name (it was Pitmedden near Tarves), this was followed by a number of comments on social media condemning the woman’s actions.
One person commented on how strange it was seeing vandalism committed by an elderly person, rather than bored teenagers. There were suggestions that the crime was carried out by someone with the onset of dementia or mental health problems or the motivation was theft of plants. Then the truth of the matter was revealed. The culprit came forward, disclosed their identity and provided the following explanation:
Sorry you think I vandalised the planters but you will see the plants have been picked up and will be planted in a plot to grow and will dug up in the autumn and put back in the planters. We have hundreds of plants ready to go into the flower bed round village. If we don't do it soon we will lose them I hope you enjoy the new plants as much as the ones we have taken way.
There is an important lesson here. We have all at some point misunderstood the actions and motivations of others. It is so easy to do. When we don’t see the big picture, we make conclusions on incomplete information. The elderly lady ‘vandalising the planters’ was one of a network of committed volunteers bringing joy and colour into almost every village and community. (We are so fortunate to have the same network of committed volunteers in Hatton and Cruden.) But is it possible that we don’t see the big picture about faith? That we make conclusions about God and church on incomplete information?
Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
1 Corinthians 6:19–20
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies’
In his majestic hymn, Charles Wesley captures one of the great mysteries of the Christian Faith, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in heart of a believer. Although frequently misunderstood, genuine faith involves a relationship with God by the Holy Spirit through our inner experience.
1 Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heav'n to earth come down:
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown:
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter ev'ry trembling heart.
Here Wesley’s hymn can be read not just as a statement about the being of God, but also a prayer to ‘fix in us thy humble dwelling’ which is repeated in the final stanza. ‘…visit us with thy salvation, entry every trembling heart.
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit would come and go from the saints, empowering them for service but not necessarily remaining with them (Judges 15:14; 1 Chronicles 12:18; Psalm 51:11; Ezekiel 11:5).
In the New Testament Jesus revealed to His disciples the new role the Spirit of Truth would play in their lives: “He lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:17).,The apostle Paul wrote, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
• Give thanks to all who bring beauty to our local communities
• Continue to remember all those who are affected by Covid19, especially those who serve.
Almighty and merciful Father, who show your love to all your creation.
We come before you asking for a quick control of the Coronavirus currently ravaging our world.
Hear graciously the prayers we make for those affected by the virus in various parts of the world.
Grant healing to the sick, eternal life to the dead and consolation to the bereaved families.
We pray that an effective medicine to combat the sickness be speedily found.
We pray for the relevant governments and health authorities that they take appropriate steps for the good of the people.
Look upon us in your mercy and forgive us our failings.
• Pray for a closer walk with God, that his love may dwell in your heart.
Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mould me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. You will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.
May the grace of God uphold you,
the peace of God surround you,
the love of God flow from you
and the strength of God protect
and bring you safely through this day.