Thought for the Week
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