Thought for the week

Thought for the Week provides a Verse, Thought and Prayer for the week ahead.  We trust you will find these helpful and encouraging in these times.

Verse for the week:

Isaiah 40:31

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high like eagles ……

Thought for the week:

Last week (after more years than I would care to admit!) I re-read Richard Bach’s beautiful and inspiring fable “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” (the 2014 edition including the rediscovered Part Four and “Last Words” by the author), and it was just as uplifting and thought-provoking as I remembered.

The story is about Jonathan, who wants to break with seagull tradition and to learn to fly – really fly and not be tied to his father’s view that the reason, and the only reason seagulls fly, is to eat.

Jonathan won’t listen and eventually his lifestyle falls foul of The Flock. The Elders tell him that a seagull’s lot in life is summed up like this: “…… we are put into this world to eat, and to stay alive as long as we possibly can”. No more – no less.

But Jonathan wants more …… to find and follow a meaning, a higher purpose for life …… to learn, to discover, to be free.

“But the Flock may as well have been stone …… with one accord they solemnly closed their ears and turned their backs on him.”

Jonathan wasn’t finished. The book goes on to describe how he reached his goals – and more – but I’ll leave you to read the outcome for yourselves.

Although not overtly religious, Jonathan Livingston Seagull has many overtones and similarities (I think) to Christian experience.

How often (in, dare I say it, all denominations?) do we get caught up in the cycle of church tradition? (I’m not saying that all tradition is bad – far from it – but does it have the potential to limit our God-given freedom?)

I read recently read about a young Christian worker who was asked the question, “Why are so many turning their backs on organised religion?”

His reply: “Possibly because some churches are focusing on issues inside the church walls. A friend who leads a church shared how his members spent years debating how to maintain the traditional parts of the church such as pews, wooden carvings, pictures …… yet they failed to discuss how they might invite friends and families to come and enjoy the life Jesus is offering.” (my emphases)

Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Is that the picture the church is showing to the world?  Is now the time to take Jesus at his word and learn to live life in all its fullness …… to be different …… to learn to fly?

May the Holy Spirit fill us and guide us into this type of living.

Amen.

Prayer for the week:

Lord Jesus,                                                                                                                            Let me never forget the price you paid so that I may be free ……                                            To see your hand in, and be thankful for, the beauty of creation and all its people,              To see your heart in the lives of those who live out sacrificial, servant love,                          To see your will in acceptance and thankfulness for diversity,                                               To experience your presence every day,                                                                              To lean on the promise of forgiveness and the assurance of heaven,                                   To live life in all its fullness.

Thank you, Jesus.

Amen.