Thoughts for Monday 25th May, 2020

Psalm 99; Leviticus 9:1-11, 22-24; 1 Peter 4:1-6

 Monday 25 May - Rev. Jerry Eve

 If I can begin with our New Testament reading, and particularly with verse 4 where we have ‘wild and reckless living’. I remember a service of worship at a church in Drumchapel led by some young visitors from the United States of America. They were great fun – very enthusiastic, and it fell to one of them to preach a sermon, which he chose to do walking up and down the aisle. His message was basically that he used to be a sinner but now he’s saved. He was about 20 years old, and while we could believe that he was saved, it was difficult to believe that he’d ever been a sinner. He told us a story of having helped himself to a cookie once without asking his Mom.

 I’ve a friend who’s now a retired Head Teacher, but for decades now he’s been extremely active in an organisation called Prison Fellowship Scotland. Each week, along with other volunteers who do the same throughout the country, he visits his local prison, and helps to lead a service of worship. Quite often he’ll arrange for a speaker to come in, and sometimes it’ll be an ex-con, and someone who is able to claim that they used to be a sinner but now they’re saved.

 The thing is, though, that whether or not we recognise ourselves in the passage from 1 Peter or not – and whether or not we have ever been convicted of (or even committed) a crime – the Bible’s teaching on forgiveness is a spiritual resource we can all benefit from. And so, here in Psalm 99 we have God addressed as ‘a God who forgives’, as well as a reference to those two creatures (called cherubim) whose wings of hammered gold, one for each end, facing each other, covered the lid of the Ark of the Covenant (see Exodus 25:18-20) in the Tent of the Lord’s Presence, and later on in the Holy of Holies in King Solomon’s Temple.

 These cherubim pop up in all sorts of places – guarding, for example, the entrance to the Garden of Eden, and transporting God’s throne in Ezekiel – but do have a look at Hebrews 9:5, where we find that just above those wings is ‘the place where [our] sins are forgiven.’

 Let us pray:

 (and this is a prayer for the >8,000 people there are in Scotland’s prisons at this time, and it comes from the Prison Fellowship website:)

 PRAY FOR:

 Good health and protection from COVID-19 and other threats.

Correctional facilities to be shielded from negative outside reactions to the pandemic.

 Good mental health for prisoners, who are isolated from their families and the outside world; for correctional officers, who are trying to do their jobs; and for the families of prisoners, who are enduring this pandemic without their loved ones by their sides.

 Peace within prisons and between the men and women incarcerated and correctional staffs.

 Pray for prison medical staffs, who will be on front lines of any in-prison response.

 Amen.


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