Thought for the day – Tuesday 26 May

Thought for the day - Tuesday 26 May
Dear All
Throughout the bible, we find many references that speak of contrition and humility and their opposite attitudes, pride and arrogance. The ‘contrast’ is stark and how people reveal their respective attitudes influences how we regard them. Nobody likes a snob, but we all warm to folk who are ‘nice and ordinary’. I’m sure some folk try very hard to be a snob and for others, it just seems to come naturally. Either way, we don’t like it.
Even if someone is the very best, the number one, in their particular field, we just don’t like to hear them say it. No matter how they couch their achievements, skill or abilities it always sounds, and really is, much better for someone else to say it.
Some folk have this daft notion that you should never speak about politics or religion in company in a social setting. I understand their caution but it really is preposterous to exclude from an everyday conversation the very things that affects us all, the very things that provoke debate and passion. We don’t always have to be adversarial though, we can freely express our views passionately but with respect and consideration for others too
What we heard yesterday from Mr Cummings, actually more about his ‘goings’, has really annoyed me and many others in the country very much indeed. I found his remarks and attitude to be arrogant, selfish and quite insulting. He is a public figure so he should expect a public reaction to his deeds and comments and I am reacting to them today. You can too if you wish. I hope you do.
I once heard a colleague, who being a minister of many years experience, talk of how his congregation never knew what he thought about politics. I got the impression that he thought this some kind of distinction. Frankly, I found that kind of ‘fence-sitting’ outrageous. Sitting on the fence in my view is really quite cowardly and I don’t like it.
I wouldn’t want to go to church and listen to benign and bland sermons that avoided something of the minister’s own personal views. People want to know what their minister thinks, don’t they? You and I are free to disagree with what we hear.
Jesus never sat on the fence and what he said often upset a lot of religious people, he called some of them hypocrites, strong, uncompromising words! Jesus called them hypocrites because that’s what they were. You will remember too what his cousin John the Baptist had to say, he said the same. Hypocrites!
It was in this social setting that Jesus noticed how some of the Pharisees vied for the best seats where he was a guest. He took this opportunity to speak about the kingdom and how those who are humble will be exalted and how those who sought pride of place would be humbled.
In Philippians Paul speaks of Jesus emptying himself and taking the form of a servant. We in our churches sing on occasion the hymn, ‘The Servant King’ and at Easter, in particular, we focus on Jesus washing the disciples’ feet and of how we should treat one another. That is, we should be servants one of another. Humility, not blatant pride and arrogance is what should characterise us and our church community.
Mr Cummings sat at a table yesterday in Downing Street rose garden. A place of prominence and position, a place normally reserved for dignitaries, a place which princes and presidents have graced. I’ll leave you to guess where and what table he will sit at next.

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

God bless you!

Jim

JBoag@churchofscotland.org.uk

LUKE 14: 7-11

When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honour at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honour, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honoured in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

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