As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will seek to post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer.
Sunday 5th July 2020
How big is your halo?
There is the story of a man who went for see his doctor because he was feeling very ill. The doctor began by taking the man’s medical history. The doctor asked him: How much alcohol do you drink each week? The man was offended by the question. He shouted out his reply: The consumption of alcohol is a terrible sin. I never touch a single drop. The doctor asked him another question. Do you smoke? Again the man was offended by the question. He shouted back. The consumption of tobacco is a terrible sin. I hate smokers and I don’t smoke. The doctor then asked him if he was married. By this point the man was livid. He said to the doctor. Fornication is a terrible sin. I am single and I have kept myself pure. The doctor asked him what time he went to bed. The man replied 9.00 pm on the dot every night. The doctor then asked if he was having bad headaches. The man replied yes, but how do you know? The doctor replied, well, the bright halo over your head is definitely fitting too tight!
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
One of the most undesirable character traits in any person is self-righteousness. It could be described as a feeling of moral superiority. It is the view that you are better and more superior to the people around you. It comes in many forms and in varying degrees. In can be anything from a moral smugness to being judgmental of others. It finds it most disagreeable expression when it becomes entangled with religion.
In our Bible passage Jesus demolishes the whole edifice of self-righteousness. He makes it clear that a judgmental spirit is at odds with authentic faith. And he uses some hard, confrontational and well-aimed words. In contrast, one of the marks authentic faith is humility, coupled with an awareness of your own personal brokenness and imperfections. Here we are reminded that that we are saved by grace and deeply loved, flaws and all.
One final thought. There is a self-rigorousness that comes from the human heart and there is a righteousness that comes from God. One is odious and obnoxious, the other radiates with grace and beauty!
Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church
Come to me,
come to me,
come to me,
is the chorus of your invitation, God.
Yet we arrive carrying so much baggage:
things done and left undone.
We arrive with the very things we sought to leave behind:
plans half-baked and hopes over-cooked.
And still, you are there:
grace already weaving its slow path
through the warp and weft of our lives.
Easy is your yoke,
light is your burden,
steadfast is your kindness,
set us free to rest in you.
Create for us a rhythm that sets our feet
to the beat of your heart.
Lead us on the path
that winds towards your gentle way.
Give to us:
rest on our journey,
pleasure in our tasks,
humility in our success,
and forgiveness in our failures.
That the yokes and burdens,
Of this journey,
Might be of your making,
And not our own…This we pray in Jesus name
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.
God of the quiet times, speak peacefully to our souls.
God of the noisy times, share our shouts of joy.
God of the sad times, comfort and console us.
God of the happy times, smile and laugh with us.
God of all times and eternity
Support us and make us strong
And make the bonds among us stable
For you are the arch of Divine Love
That holds together our whole existence
And so may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Remain us all for evermore.