Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A way to pray

I am reading a story by Shalom Asch, a Jewish writer,which is set in the yeshiva of a small Jewish village. Asch tells the story of a pious young boy, not great at learning but great at praying. He describes is praying thus: "And the way he prayed was a treat to watch. You should have seen him! He just stood and talked, as one person talks to another, quietly and affectionately without any tricks of manner."
So much has been written over the centuries about prayer, but this seems a pretty good way of going about it. God is not impressed by fine words and phrases or clever techniques, nor by great learning. He just wants a simple, open trusting heart.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Mark 3:22-30

This reading is the Gospel reading for today. Two thoughts came to me as  I listened.
Jesus is challenged by the scribes in an offensive way that clearly riles him. They actually accuse him of being a Satanist, one who is possessed by Beelzebub. Now in the Old Testament, the word Beelzebub translates as Lord of the Flies and is often used as a reference to a Caananite deity, a false God. They  say that Jesus has his power through Satan. Jesus, no false God but God made man, goes on to point out the nonsense of what they say in the well-known words about a house being divided.Jesus then says "But no-one can make his way into a strong man's house and burgle his property unless he has tied up the strong man first. Only then can he burgle his house." The strong man is the one who is filled with the Spirit of God and who lives in that Spirit, who lets grace direct his life and submits his will to the will of the Father. But, because God has allowed us the grace of a free will, there is the constant danger that the strong man might be bound by Satan, by following his own will and yielding to the siren song of the tempter. The strong man can always be tempted,  as a burglar can attempt to invade his property, but the man who remains strong in the Lord will be safe.
Jesus then goes on to issue a dire warning: "I tell you solemnly all men's sins will be forgiven them and all their blasphemies; but let anyone blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and he will never have forgiveness: he is guilty of an eternal sin." In the context of this reading, we have the scribes calling Jesus a false God, denying his divinity and abusing the Spirit of God within him. As it is becoming more and more fashionable to deny God and Christ, particularly in the aggressive atheism that is being promoted by some,  Jesus' warning to the scribes is a timely reminder to those who would turn people away from God.

Psalm 96

Psalm 96(95) is one of the Psalms in the readings for Week 3 of Morning Prayer of the Church. Verse 10 says: "Proclaim to the nations: God is King."
It is a duty laid on us by God to announce to the world that there is a God and that he has temporal authority as King of creation. It is in Jesus Christ that the kingship of God is fulfilled by the will of the Father.

It is a simple message that God through the Psalmist gives us, but it is a message preceded by that command:Proclaim to the nations. The message is not just for me or for any single individual. It is for the world and everyone in it. The message must be proclaimed so that all can hear the truth, and so that none can claim to be ignorant of God and his message of salvation. God is just and therefore He commands that we make it possible for all to know of and to accept his plan of salvation and to enter into the Kingdom and to know Jesus the King.
So there you are. God is;and God is King over the place where you live. The choice is now yours.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

53 million plus

53 million plus; that's the number of abortions in the USA in the past 37 years.Pretty near the population of the UK which makes you think.