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 13th May 2020
‘Resting in the One who is’
The Victorian writer, William Ernest Henley (1849–1903) is probably best remembered for this poem Inviticus. Published in 1878, the poem was written as Henley was recovering from a serious health condition which was a consequence of childhood tuberculosis. Called ‘Inviticus’ (a Latin word which means unconquered), the poem soon became a best seller and a cultural touchstone. It epitomised Victorian stoicism, the so called ‘stiff upper lip’ of fortitude, courage and self-disciple. The final verse of the poem was frequently quoted. It reads:
I am the Master of my fate and the Captain of my soul.
The poem sounds so brave and powerful and confident. Being Captain of your soul and Master of your future makes one feel bold, strong and invincible. Unfortunately, it lacks any semblance of reality. One American writer, Todd Connor puts it this way: ‘It sounds meaningful but is rendered meaningless. It seems powerful but is truly powerless in its mythical presumptions.’
1 John 4:7-12
God Is Love
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
We live in painful times. Society has ground to a halt. Everyday life is suspended. Schools, colleges, shops, gyms, pubs and restaurants are all closed. For the first time in many centuries even the church has temporarily shut up shop. The cruellest part is the separation of families from loved ones dying alone in hospitals or nursing homes. (That is now being changed.) As a very nasty and incredibly destructive virus called Covid19 has proved, we are ‘Masters of Nothing. Captains to Nowhere.’
Whilst many people cling to the illusion that they are in control of their own lives, the Christian faith offers an alternative perspective. It is startling in its simplicity. It is not the delusion of control or personal invincibility. It is love. It is love that has existed before the dawn of creation. That is the starting point of faith and the beginning of hope and the foundation of authentic worship. As Charles Wesley put it: Love Divine all loves excelling.
Todd Connor concludes: I am grateful to have found my faith in Jesus and the healing power it provides. And to have abandoned mind-numbing nonsense like Henley’s Invictus. I am not Master of my fate. Nor am I Captain of my soul. But I rest in the ONE who is.
Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church
AN INTERCESSORY PRAYER
You call us to speak to you in prayer– even when the places we would usually go to are not available.
Help us to know you Spirit’s presence wherever we pray.
Today we especially pray for those who are living in fear – give them your strength.
For those who have not yet realised the urgency of the situation – protect them, and all of us from harm.
Today I especially want to pray for …….
In the name of Jesus.
A new normal
Every normal was once new....
it did not arrive,
but came to be.
Time and tide,
call and creativity,
all played their part
in where we arrived -
in this life in God
which we called normal.
And what of Christ,
our hope, our strength -
was family life,
learning carpenter’s ways?
Did he welcome
his call and challenge,
this change to all he knew?
Did he also feel loss,
longing for the familiar,
even while bringing life?
And one day
our new normal,
will also bring
new hope -
new ways to be.
Things will change
again and always,
for life and faith
never stand still.
God is making all things new.
Even what is normal.
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.
A Celtic Blessing
The deep peace of the powerful wave be with you,
The deep peace of the air that moves be with you,
The deep peace of the water that flows be with you,
The deep peace of the silent land be with you,
The deep peace of the shining stars be with you,
The deep peace of the Creator,
Redeemer and the Spirit of Peace be with you. Amen