Thoughts for Wednesday 26th August 2020

Psalm 18:1-3, 20-32; Isaiah 28:14-22; Matthew 26:6-13


Wednesday 26 August


Each of the two portions of our psalm today refer to a shield. At verse 2 we have, ‘God protects me like a shield,’ and at verse 30, ‘God is like a shield.’ Used metaphorically like this, there are quite a lot of shields in the Bible, all the way from Deuteronomy 33:29 where we have, ‘The Lord himself is your shield,’ to Ephesians 6:16 and, ‘At all times carry faith as a shield.’


I think I prefer the metaphors today, however, in our passage from Isaiah. Often referred to as the Fifth Gospel, because of the strong links there are between Isaiah and Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, this passage is typical of much of Isaiah in the way it often seems to be so very prophetic of Christ. I do like the more constructive (less militaristic) metaphors of a measuring line and a plumb line for justice and honesty, the reference to a cornerstone being one that is then taken up by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians 2:20 when he writes: ‘You [Gentiles] too are built upon the foundation that is laid by the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ himself.’ Peter in 1 Peter 2:6 simply quotes from Isaiah 28 when he writes, ‘For the Scripture says . . .’


Moving to our New Testament lesson, and the story we have of the anointing of Christ, it’s a text that we might think justifies denying poor people the help they need. That, I’m sure, is to miss the point, and while we are moved to think of one woman, and what the sacrifice of so much expensive perfume might have meant for her and her circumstances, I find myself thinking of another, and of


Mercy Baguma, aged 34, from Uganda, found dead in her flat in Govan on Saturday (22 August), with her one old boy, Adriel, still alive.


One group of people we are clearly failing here in Glasgow at the moment is our Refugee Community, this latest death adding to a toll which also includes:


Adnan Walid Elbi, aged 30, from Syria, found dead in his room at the McLay’s Guest House on Renfrew Street on 6 May, and


Badreddin Abedlla Adam, aged 28, from Sudan, shot dead after stabbing six people including PC David Whyte, aged 42, in the Park Inn Hotel on West George Street on 26 June.


Let us pray (and our prayer today is a poem by Glasgow’s Poet Laureate, Jim Carruth):


A Flourishing (Song of St Mungo)


What am I to you my Lord if I remain

A mere sapling of what you’d have me be.

Who despite the prompts of sun and rain

Refuse to stretch my spine into a tree.


Or if you’d given me feathers as a gift

Why wouldn’t I just once attempt to fly;

Take the first few steps, start to run and lift

Myself up to the promise of the sky.


Again, if gills and fins you’d made for me,

Why lie stranded floundering on the land

When there’s the offer of river and sea.

For us all, you’ve a journey and a plan.


And if I was a bell, why would I never ring.

You who gave me song, taught me how to sing.




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