I am not Ashamed to …

Services of Worship Forums Minister’s Message I am not Ashamed to …

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    When we are faced today with so much gossip, accusation, innuendo it is easy to be drawn into the vilification of others, so much so that we can even dismiss those who have been our friends for long time. This is particularly so if they no longer suit your purposes or match your ideals. In effect, they have become an offence to you of whom we can so easily be ashamed. This is a most difficult and painful situation, and Jesus describes it this way; "What good is it to you if you gain the world and lose your soul; how are you going to get it back, your soul?" We are asked, "How shall we die?" It may not be literally, but it does mean that our very lives, loyalties, and souls are involved. Debie Thomas wrote this week;

    "According to the New York Times, three of the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S history have occurred in the last five months.
    Since the Sandy Hook shooting of 2012, over 1800 people have died and close to 6500 others have been wounded in 1600 mass shootings across the country. Right now, Americans own over 300 million guns; roughly one for every citizen. Every time another mass shooting hits the headlines, we gather as a nation, over social media, at memorial services and vigils, in the halls of Congress and the White House and offer the victims and their families our “thoughts and prayers.” And then life goes on, until … ."

    Debie Thomas is closer to this than me, but I can't help hearing, reading, noticing the reactions of other countries, UK, Australia, NZ where the embarrassment of gun control has caused distressing conflict.

    In this week’s Gospel reading from St. Mark, Jesus predicts his death for the first time, this he will do twice more. “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering,” Jesus tells his disciples quite plainly. He must “be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Standing on this side of resurrection history we too easily miss the impact these words must have had on Jesus’ disciples.
    Peter, standing before these very words reviles from Jesus in the first of his many denials until he too realises that following Jesus will bring glory, and shame, though not from the same source. Jesus however, does not shame.

    Grace and peace, James.

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