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 27th June 2020
Yesterday I spoke briefly about of one of our family pets – Magnus who is a nine-month old West Highland Terrier. He has a rather curious personality, more akin to a cat than a dog. Like most Westies he is independent, bold, persistent and strong-willed. There are occasions when he completely ignores me, preferring to do his own thing, even to the point of being stroppy. Yet the very same self-willed dog is friendly, affectionate and playful. All these character traits, typical of the breed, make for a very engaging pet. With Magnus around, you need eyes in the back of your head and life is always interesting, especially when he has sneaked in our bedroom (banned territory!), enjoying the comfort of our bed. It is this combination of traits that make Westies such popular and much loved pets. And as Christians, we all need a wee bit of Westie inside us!
John 14: 1-14
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
A normal expression of faith is to join a church or congregation, preferably one which is local. The church is central to God’s purpose for us as individuals, the community and nation. A healthy outward looking congregation is a blessing to the local community. Whilst there are some genuine reasons for commuting to church, the usual practice within the New Testament was to become part of the local ‘ecclesia’ or gathering. If we remove our faith, gifts and giving from the local context, the church and God’s mission become impoverished. There is more. It is through the church that our faith is nurtured and we give and receive support from our fellow brother and sisters in Christ.
Regretfully, sometimes in church we put the cart before horse. Church (building, traditions etc.,) becomes the focus and not the Lord. Even worse is when churches become the focused of the personal authority of the leader or a clique, where their personal views or beliefs become the dominant force. Whilst the church is central to God’s purposes, we need to always remember that our ultimate loyalty is to Jesus Christ. He alone is our Lord and Saviour. He is the focus of our devotion and service. This is where a bit of ‘Westie attitude’ comes in. That we keep our focus on Jesus and not on the expectations or views of others.
Remember, Jesus is your Lord and Saviour! And no one else.
Remember in your prayers…
Those affected by the stabbings in Glasgow
Those who have lost loved ones
Those injured and in hospital
Those who protect our communities.
Pray for the church
That we will always keep our focus on Jesus
For God’s guidance and leading
For spiritual renewal and revival
Let us pray..
God of Abraham,
God of Isaac,
God present of Jesus,
God present in the activity of Your people,
You are the God of invitation.
Your invitation given to Abraham
called him to follow
trusting in the promises
that You offered.
Promises of a relationship
that would build a community
willing to share in the care of Your creation.
Jesus is your invitation.
into a relationship with You,
where we recognise the value of those we share the world with;
where we see You and greet You,
in the hands and voices of others.
The Good News fills our imaginations
with the hope of living
as You would have us live,
welcoming the stranger,
caring for the outcast,
healing those who struggle with life,
bring new life where
the dust of devastation has led to death.
Through the Holy Spirit,
Your invitation sounds
in least expected moments and in the ordinary tasks of our days.
We are Your creation, and in our turning to You we trust You with our lives,
believing that with Your presence in our world can be transformed to offer signs of the kingdom of heaven.
God of salvation, we are surprised to discover Your desire to have us as Your people; we are surprised by the freedoms You have bestowed upon us; and from our surprise we turn in thank fullness to praise You for Your trust in the choices we will make.
We are thankful for our freedom;
the people who inspire us with the story of faith they tell; the gift of living as a fellowship offering love to the community.
Through Your grace,
may we be inspired to live as those who choose
Your path of light
that the darkness of our fears and doubts
may be dispelled by Christ’s presence.
The Lord’s prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
you will be done,
on earth as 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.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
now and forever.
As you go from here,
may you experience God’s favour,
and rest in the peace that comes
from the One who is, who was,
and who is yet to come;
To him be glory and power,
forever and ever.