As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will seek to post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer
Saturday 30 May 2020
‘The impact of the Bible, Part 3’
Over the past couple of months, the news has been dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic. And for good reason. It has dominated our lives, taken tens of thousands of lives and wrecked the economy. But this does not mean the world has stopped. There are currently two big stories in the news. In the United States, the coronavirus shutdown has not stopped black people from dying unjustly.
On May 25, George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, begging for his life with a police officer’s knee on his neck. On March 13 Breonna Taylor was shot to death by police officers who burst into the wrong apartment. In February, jogger Ahmaud Arbery was killed by two vigilantes.
Now the US is being rocked with demonstrations and protests, which now threaten the spiral out of the control. The same appears to be happening in Hong Kong as the Chinese Government in Beijing moves to end its relative autonomy from communist rule. Like the US, there have been allegations of police brutality as people protest for their freedom and dignity.
So what has all this got to with the ‘impact of the Bible?’ Whilst some religionists would put forward a simplistic argument that we have to unthinkingly submit to God’s word irrespective of the cultural context in which it was originally written, there is another point of view. That the inspired words of scripture reveal the deepest yearnings of the heart of God for the heart of humanity. These include the yearning for freedom and dignity.
Galatians 3: 23-29
‘Children of God’
23 Before the coming of this faith,[j] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
This is probably one of the Apostle Paul’s earliest letters, written to the early Christian Church in the Roman province of Galatian, which in modern Turkey is known as Cappadocia and Antalya. (Well worth a visit!) Writing some nineteen hundred years before the final abolition of slavery, Paul’s words are extraordinary. They transcend the culture in which they were first written. Human freedom, dignity and equality are embedded in the heart of God.
So, do not let anyone take your freedom away from you, especially if they are doing it in God’s name!’
Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church
“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7
Loving God, we thank you for your presence with your children through the anxiety of the COVID-19 situation.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
Thank you for wise leadership and health authorities that guide us in making good decisions for our communities.
“You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).
Thank you for doctors, nurses, medical researchers and technicians, and all those who are working to care for the sick and develop treatments for this illness
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
Thank you for cleaning staff and caregivers and volunteers, and all who are working to keep our environments clean and safe.
“My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).
Thank you for ministers, elders, neighbours, and friends who are working to care for those who are vulnerable, alone or afraid.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning” (Psalm 130:5–6).
Thank you for the peace and comfort that comes from knowing that we are not alone. God, grant us patience as we wait; grant us courage as we serve you and care for one another; grant us hope as we trust in you for the future.
“O [People], hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem” (Psalm 130:7).
(Prayer by the Rev. Amanda Currie)
For all whose nights are broken
by pain, discomfort, anxiety,
caring duties, noisy neighbours
and so many other reasons,
leaving them irritable, tired
and unable to concentrate,
refresh their minds, grant
patience in times of stress,
keep them safe when driving,
and in the nights to come
may they find peace and rest.
The Lord's Prayer
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
Bless all who worship You, almighty God,
from the rising of the sun to its setting:
from Your goodness enrich us,
by Your love inspire us,
by Your spirit guide us,
by Your power protect us,
in Your mercy receive us,
now and always.