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 21st May 2020
One of the ways people have been helped to cope during the lockdown is by the use of social media. It has enabled families and friends to remain in contact – not just by phone or email – but virtual face to face conversation. In has even bought people closer together. At Cruden Parish Church we are also using social media – you will be reading this via facebook or the website. And using a programme called Zoom we are having virtual face to face Bible Studies, Coffee Morning and Sunday Evening Worship.
For all the blessings that social media brings, it is not fool proof or infallible. It gives everybody a platform to express their views or opinions, irrespective how naive or misinformed. Some ‘self-proclaimed experts’ don’t have a clue what they are talking about, especially when it comes to Covid19. For example, you cannot cure the virus by drinking warm water! And then there is the dark side – adults posing as children looking for friends. There was also a church holding an online Bible study when somebody interrupted by posting graphic images.
For all the benefits that social media brings there is a need for caution and discernment. It abounds with fake news. And you need to be on your guard about what information you share and how you share it. This is partly why links to all our church meetings are given out on request and not openly published on the website.
Paul Accepted by the Apostles
2 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. 3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. 4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— 5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. 6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. 7 On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised 8 (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
A Tree and Its Fruit
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Personally I think the church is a wonderful place. A good congregation is one in which Jesus is at the centre, there are meaningful and caring relationships, and you have freedom to be yourself. To this could be added further qualities –acceptance, grace and a sense of humour. But occasionally things go wrong, such as poor leadership, lacklustre worship, and abusive relationships. What should be a wonderful place can also be a damaging place. So we all need to be on our guard.
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul uses the phrase ‘false brothers.’ (Other versions of the Bible use the phrase ‘false teachers’ or ‘false brethren.’) This would suggest not just people doing damage, but also friendships and relationships. So perhaps the real warning here is not just people with wobbly ideas. But people who use friendship for inappropriate ends. Not necessarily motivated by malevolence but out of a desire to control and be at the centre of attention.
Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church
Continue to Remember all those affected by the Corona Virus.
Those who mourn, especially the families and friends for those who have died from Corona Virus
Those who nursed and cared for them, often at great personal risk.
Those who work in the funeral industry – for their dedication, professionalism and respect.
Those who have been damaged by ‘false brothers’ or abused in
And pray for Cruden Parish Church – that we may be faithful to God in our caring and serving, in our learning and teaching, in our outreach and mission.
Let us pray:
Living God, you are our Creator and our Maker
And the very breath of life is given as your gift.
We thank you for the gift of life
And we embrace and treasure that gift.
Living God, you are the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
Whose presence in the world reveals your love for us.
In the giving of your Son,
You reveal the depths of your love.
Living God, your Son embraced the Cross
And the depths of human suffering.
We thank you that you delivered him
On the day of Resurrection.
Living God, as you spoke to the bereft and the orphaned in days past,
Speak to the bereft and the orphaned in days present.
Speak to the uncertain and the anxious.
Speak into the depths of our incomprehension and fear.
Living God, your promise
Is that we will not be left alone to face the world.
We thank you that through the gift of your Spirit
That promise is fulfilled.
Living God, be with all who sustain our common life at this time,
Carers and nurses, cleaners and porters,
Doctors and ambulance staff, delivery drivers and posties.
Through their giving our common life is sustained.
Living God, as you have watched over us in the past,
Watch over us in the present.
As once more we thank you, that through Christ
And by your Holy Spirit, we are not alone. Amen.
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.
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 God the Father
prepare your journey,
Jesus the Son
guide your footsteps,
The Spirit of Life
strengthen your body,
The Three in One
watch over you,
on every road
that you may follow.
O FOR A THOUSAND TONGUES TO SING