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Measuring up (13-01-22)

A Reading

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a hill and sat down. His followers came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:


Those people who know they have great spiritual needs are happy, because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.

Those who are sad now are happy, because God will comfort them.

Those who are humble are happy, because the earth will belong to them.

Those who want to do right more than anything else are happy, because God will fully satisfy them.

Those who show mercy to others are happy, because God will show mercy to them.

Those who are pure in their thinking are happy, because they will be with God.

Those who work to bring peace are happy, because God will call them his children.

Those who are treated badly for doing good are happy, because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.


(Matthew 5: 1-10; The Youth Bible)


A Thought

As winter approaches, I have needed to know how much heating oil is in our tank. This has not been straightforward in the modern world.


We previously fitted an external sight gauge which looked flash, but over time became clogged with debris and gave inaccurate readings. Internal float gauges were fitted instead, but have also failed to perform. The first of these broke apart in a frost, and the replacement has ‘forgotten’ what it is supposed to be doing.


All have been discarded and I am now inserting a simple wooden ‘dip stick’ into the tank to gauge the oil level and assess whether a top up is required.


Jesus does not use flashy measuring instruments to judge how righteous we are. He is not distracted by begrudging attendance at church, preening of our faith in social gatherings, posturing in community activities, or overt displays of generosity to the poor.


Instead, Jesus looks straight into our hearts.


Our bible study group at Walgrave this week considered the Sermon on the Mount. When Jesus looks into our hearts, he is seeking to find:

- recognition of our need for God;

- awareness of our sins;

- willingness to submit to God and to follow Jesus;

- forgiveness of others;

- motivation to love others and to live peacefully; and

- courage to live for Jesus.

Let’s hope he finds some of what he is looking for, and orders the necessary top up (from the Holy Spirit) for urgent delivery.


We can of course measure and order it ourselves.


A prayer

Dear Father,

thank you that through Jesus Christ I am chosen, cleansed and dearly loved.

When I’m tempted to act according to the world’s standards,

help me to refuse Satan’s temptations

and to rely on your truth about me instead.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Amen

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