Thursday 25th February 2021
In certain places, snakes are used as a source of food. For example, from the Everglades in Florida comes a recipe for Rattlesnake Pasta. Here in the North-east of Scotland, one of the most popular meals is a fish supper – usually Haddock, landed locally at Peterhead, deep fried in batter. (Recipe for Rattlesnake Pasta available on request!)
Ask, Seek, Knock
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.’
In Matthew 7: 7-12 Jesus draws a contrast between a snake and fish to talk about God’s willingness to hear our prayers and answer them. God is not like some so called help lines where you phone up and ending up waiting an exceptionally long time. Rather the reverse is true. God is attentive to the cries of his children. Our prayer our heard within the courts of heaven. (See Revelation 8:4)
There are several lessons we can learn here! Keep on praying. Keep asking and searching and keep knocking. For the one who asks always receives. Be persistent. But a note if caution. God’s ways are not our ways. Prayers are seldom answered in ways we expect or anticipate! To this could be added another misconception of the Christian life - when we ask for fish but expect snakes. Remember, God is on side.
(Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church)
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.
St Francis of Assisi
May God the Father,
who does not despise the broken spirit,
give to you a contrite heart.
who bore our sins in his body on the tree,
heal you by his wounds.
May the Holy Spirit,
who leads us into all truth,
speak to you words of pardon and peace.
And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.