As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will to seek post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer.
Thursday 30th April 2020
Today is the 100th birthday of one of Britain’s most unlikely heroes – Thomas Moore, more affectional known as Captain Tom. Tom was born of 30th April 1920 into a family of builders in Keighley in West Yorkshire and became a civil engineer. His military career began in the Second World War where he enlisted into the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, later being commissions as a second lieutenant. During the war he saw service in India, Burma (Myanmar) and Sumatra. On his return home he served as an instructor at the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Bovington, Dorset. After the end of military career, he worked as managing director of company producing concrete.
Captain Tom rose to fame after the media learned of his attempt to raise £1,000 for the NHS by walking 100 laps of garden supported by a walking frame. His JustGiving page reported at as of 8.00 am this morning he has raised £29.95 million, with money still coming in. His efforts have earned him international recognition including 50 interviews with the media, a number 1 hit record, two separate world records, an on-line petition signed by 800,000 people calling for him to be knighted, and even having a police dog puppy name after him. However, the most interest honour bestowed upon Captain Tom (along with a flypast of a Spitfire and Hurricane) was promotion to the honorary rank of Colonel. When interviewed about this promotion, Captain Tom expressed his gratitude, but said he ‘will continue to use the title of Captain, because that is who I am.’
The current crisis and lockdown caused by Covid 19 is affecting everyone. It has been extremely cruel in the way it has separated families from loved ones and family, especially at times of serious illness and bereavement. For people like myself it continues to be a source of frustration. I cannot do large parts of my job including visiting and caring. I cannot go offshore rowing or to the gym or wander on the hills. But my sense of frustration is selfish and trivial when compared to what many people are going through. And of greater interest the crisis brought on by Covid10 has created many heroes.
rdinary people are doing extraordinary things. Not forgetting of course how some of the lowest paid workers are now doing some of the most essential work and potentially putting themselves at great risk in the process.
So today no profound theological insight! Except to remember ordinary people like Captain Tom and countless unnamed individuals who are striving the make the world a better place. They are beacons of hope and remind us of the best of humanity. Or in the words of the Book of Hebrews – ‘the world is not worthy of them.’
Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church
Faith in Action
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshipped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be ill-treated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched round them for seven days.
31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[d]
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawn in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and ill-treated – 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Heroes populate the highest rung of the ladder of every religion, every profession, every country, every race, every generation, and every home. A great crowd of heroes lives on in each of our minds. We look up to these people. We admire them. We want to be like them.
Who are our personal heroes?
What is it that we see and admire in them?
Give thanks to God for the saints (both known and unknown)
Give thanks to God for all the people who have helped you and encouraged you.
Give thanks to God for all the people that have held you and comforted you.
Give thanks to God for all the people who have served you and cared for you.
Give thanks to God for all the people who made sacrifices for you.
Give thanks to God for all the people who helped on journey of faith?
Famous Prayers by some of the heroes (saints) of the Christian Faith
1) Saint Francis (Attributed), Monk and Ascetic
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, 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.
2) Teresa of Avila, Mystic and Nun
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing;
God only is changeless.
Patience gains all things.
Who has God wants nothing.
God alone suffices.
3) Thomas à Kempis, Monk and Writer
My most gracious God,
preserve me from the cares of this life,
so that I should not become entangled by them,
and from the many desires of the flesh,
so that I should not be ensnared by pleasure,
and from whatever is an obstacle to the soul,
so that I should not be broken with troubles,
and be overthrown.
4) John Wesley, Preacher and Founder of Methodism
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
5) Jim Elliot, Martyred Missionary to Ecuador
Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.
6) Thomas Merton, Monk and Author
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
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 me with Thy presence when I shall make an end of living.
Help me in the darkness to find the ford.
And in my going comfort me with Thy promise that
Where Thou art, there shall Thy servant be
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
Will you come and follow me?