Thought for the Week

Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews -

I sit on the com­mit­tee of the Church of Scot­land that is re­spon­si­ble for the dis­ci­plin­ing of min­is­ters.

Re­cently we’ve been re­form­ing our pro­ce­dures and we came to con­sider what the def­i­ni­tion of a dis­ci­plinary of­fence for a min­is­ter should be.

It was sug­gested that a breach of the min­is­ter’s or­di­na­tion vows should be one such of­fence. How­ever, one of those vows is that a min­is­ter prom­ises to dis­charge his or her du­ties “cheer­fully” so our com­mit­tee was left with the some­what hi­lar­i­ous thought of pun­ish­ing grumpy min­is­ters across Scot­land.

I can’t claim always to be cheer­ful so please don’t re­port me if you catch me on a bad day.

How­ever, that vow is there for good reason. It re­flects a bi­b­li­cal com­mand to ev­ery Chris­tian, as St Paul wrote: “Re­joice always, pray con­tin­u­ally and give thanks in all cir­cum­stances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Je­sus.”

Of course, it doesn’t mean fake smiles 24/7. The Bi­ble has lots of tears, laments, anger and ex­pres­sions of pain. In Holy Week Chris­tians re­mem­ber the pain of Je­sus but we also re­mem­ber that at the cen­tre of ev­ery­thing we have good news.

Je­sus is alive, sins are for­given and death and suf­fer­ing will not have the last word: the tomb is empty. The world will be re­newed and the end of the story will be good.

That’s why Paul, hav­ing been stripped, beaten, and thrown in prison, was found singing songs at midnight.

And so, while apol­o­gis­ing for the fail­ure of grumpy Chris­tians ev­ery­where, can I in­vite you to con­sider the joy­ful mes­sage of the gospel this Easter sea­son?

May it warm your hearts and fill you with hope. Alistair May Stonelaw Parish Church

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