Thought for the day – Saturday 13 June

Thought for the day - Saturday 13 June

Dear All

In the space of a few short months, the focus of our lives has changed quite dramatically and relatively speaking, quite suddenly, in ways we wouldn’t have reasonably thought or imagined. We have moved from speaking about ‘Brexit’, remember that topic? to the new crisis subjects of Covid19 and the ‘Black lives matter’ movement, ignited with the televised, brutal and chilling murder of George Floyd.

Not only do we now have a pandemic but along with it, a global protest movement highlighting the unjust treatment of black people. Until there is justice there will be continuing unrest. ‘Black lives matter,’ they do! All lives matter, black and white.

All issues surrounding ‘justice’ or ‘injustice’ are important. We can all be affected and you may have been adversely affected at some time in your life. Being treated unfairly never feels right because it isn’t right.

I have deliberately avoided mentioning specific people and situations currently in the news, with the exception of Mr Floyd, and avoided particular references to the past. My reason for this is not because I don’t have a view but because I have many views.

Undoubtedly, down through the centuries to the present day people from all walks of life have been concerned with justice and its absence. Zechariah the prophet who lived in and wrote during 520–518 BC delivered his message to the people. His message was that God was ‘more concerned’ with their treatment of the poor, the widow and the homeless than with their insincere personal devotions. God looked for justice not fasting.

Personal piety in itself is not ‘true religion’, what we believe and how we treat one another is, it is both creed and deed. Our love of God is not some abstract notion but is manifest in our love for our fellow human beings of whatever colour or creed. In 1 John: 4, 20 we read, ‘He who says he loves God but hates his brother or sister is a liar’. These are strong words.

Today I ask you to think/meditate on these things.

God bless you!

Jim

JBoag@churchofscotland.org.uk

ZECHARIAH 7

In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev. The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat the Lord by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”

Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?’”

And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

“But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.

“‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one travelled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’”

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