31st May 2020

I have found it difficult to know what to write this week, not because of any lack of faith or understanding, but simply because sometimes, there is so much going on it is hard to know what to focus on.  For example, one of the more positive things to have happened as an indirect result of the Corona virus pandemic has been the effect it has had upon creation.   Over these past and coming weeks, I have, and will continue to be involved in a series of workshops recently organised by the Eco congregation movement which was both inspiring and informative.  There is so much to take in - lots of things for us to think about and explore as congregations here in Maud, Savoch and St Kane’s, lots of thing we are already doing too.  

God commands us to take care of his creation, yet over time and with the evolution of new discoveries and the development of new technologies, we have been able to see more, and arguably, exploit more of the worlds resources, and on a global scale. As stewards of his world, God expects us to be more mindful of how we treat it and how our actions (or lack of action) can affect it.  

There have been all sorts of stories circulating the internet about how nature seems to be reversing itself.  Whether these stories are true or not, the fact that there is less travel, be it by land, sea or air, has undoubtedly led to less pollutants entering the environment.  This cannot be a bad thing.  How much more could we be doing to reduce waste and improve the world we live in?  This is something I encourage us all to think about as we move forward in faith.

However, hope is easily dashed, for as we hear about lives being needlessly lost through violence, prejudice and selfishness, it causes me to wonder:  if we cannot care for our neighbour, whoever and wherever that neighbour is, how can we possibly think about caring for creation?

Like many, I have been saddened and angered by the images of rioting and looting seen on our screens this week.  So much of it rooted in prejudice or a response to it.  The slogan Black Lives Matter is important if for no other reason than it but has heightened awareness of the fact that many of us who enjoy “white privilege” still don’t get it.  We still don’t really appreciate all the things we don’t have to explain, justify or fear because of the colour of our skin.  

The bible teaches us that all lives matter, but not at the expense of others.  In Genesis in the story of creation it is written, “So God created man in his own images, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27).  Nowhere does is colour mentioned, or anything else that might mark us out as different for that matter.  In his letter to the Galatians (3:28) Paul reminds us again that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Yes, all lives matter, but never at the expense of others - the poor, the sick, the weak, the oppressed.  These are the people we are called to love, to support, to stand up for, to seek justice for.  At the moment, Black Lives Matter because racial oppression still exists in the world. To remain silent when our neighbour suffers is tantamount to being like the Priest and the Levite who walked on by in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  

And if we do not know what to do, then let us follow the wise words of Micah when he said, “And what does the Lord require of you?  O act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic.6:8)  Let us follow them and pray that our eyes be opened to the injustice around us and beyond and that we may have the honesty and courage to stand up and be counted, for Jesus’ sake.

Lord, we confess that we are too often ignorant of the plight that those who appear different to ourselves suffer.  Sometimes it is rooted in naivety, at others, it is wilful because we chose not to see it or try to understand it.  Open our eyes to those parts of our lives that have shown a distinct lack of compassion for those you have called us to love, and implant within us a desire to repent of this and seek your mercy.  
We thank you for the gift of Jesus, who taught us what it means to truly love you, who challenged the misunderstandings of those who treated the poor with disdain and anyone who was different as being less valued.  He taught us that every life matters but not at the expense of another.  So, may we strive in all our ways to seek justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with you, for the sake of Jesus who taught us how to do all three.  In his name we pray.  Amen

The song this week is not a hymn but rather a piece of music which speaks to me about hope in a broken world.  Listen with me by clicking on the link below.

Click here for link to the music