Hey everyone After a very busy Saturday I almost slept in for church yesterday morning. Thankfully however I didn’t otherwise I would have missed a very important sermon on the topic of sacrifice.
This being the week after Easter it was important to reminded of the sacrifices that Jesus made for us and that we make sometimes have to make to for others in order to ensure that things are done in the right way for the right reasons.
This is especially important as we in western societies live in a culture where the instant gratification of gaining as many material possessions as possible right here right now to use the advertising slogan of a well known Scottish daily newspaper seems to matter a lot more than it should.
Yet it is in these challenging times of austerity and financial hardship when we are faced with making sacrifices we in our generation never thought we would ever have to make
when we are facing difficulties that we can learn the value of Jesus laying down his life for us and rising again to defeat the power of sin. Yet for some reason rather than looking to strengthen our faith too many of us approach the idea of faith in the same way Thomas did. In other words demanding proof of the facts before accepting something in faith. Indeed I have one acquaintance who says they don’t believe in God because they only believe in what they can see. Personally I find this position if indeed you can call it that both infantile and ridiculous.
Yet this attitude seems to be growing in this increasingly secular society that is UK PLC. The vulture culture of taking what you want and preying on the weak and the vulnerable to do it promoted firstly by Thatcher and then by Blair seems to be the accepted norm. This is far removed from the Christian idea of helping those in need or in distress. With in mind I can’t help but think of the poem written and performed by my friend Kevin P Gilday in which comes back to live in Possil which for those of you who don’t know is Glasgow’s most deprived areas and how difficult it was to impress the locals in this digital age. This poem strikes a chord with me as I see it as expressing legitimate concerns with the consumer society where greed is good and everyone has to get everything when they want it and not a second later.
As the minister said sometimes we all have to make sacrifices so the greater good of humanity can be served. For some of us this might mean cancelled appointments or not going on a night out, whilst for others it might mean sacrificing in terms of wealth, or even love so God’s plan can be fulfilled.
Now I know some people will be outraged at this suggestion but the way I see it is that if we all look at our lives we will see that we have all made sacrifices which no matter how small we may think they are will probably mean a lot to those we made them for.
The best example I can think of is when my dad used to walk the legs off me after Sunday school. He said it was to make me strong but all I felt was tired and exhausted. It was not until later I realised that my dad sacrificed his time to give me strength.
Now it’s my turn to help others in the way my dad helped me.
Living with a flatmate who has depression has taught me patience I never thought I had. Sure I’ve had to miss more than a few nights out over the last two years but to me it’s all about priorities and to me my focus has to be Janette’s mental health issues and how I can best support her.
Also I think leading a writers group has helped me understand and respond to the needs of others whilst supporting them to improve their writing. This is particularly true of one of group whom I would describe as having challenging behaviour issues that would almost certainly have seen her asked to leave most of the writing groups I have been associated with. These include repeatedly eating during class and constantly singing and talking whilst others are busy writing. This to most people would be extreme rudeness but I think the person concerned has far more significant learning difficulties than she will ever admit to and therefore needs support and I suppose I have sacrificed some of my writing time in order to assist her. I have to say though I have yet to see any real improvement in the quality of her work. However I make a conscious effort to praise even her slightest advance no matter how minuscule it may be.
Sometimes making sacrifices brings challenges and difficulties but it can also bring rewards though you should never look for them. Instead we should try to walk in the way that Jesus did. It does not escape my attention that yesterday was the Boys Brigade passing out parade for this session and well deserved praise should not only be given to the boys of the 111th company but also to their leaders and all the leaders of all the youth organisations at Baillieston St Andrew’s. It is their sacrifice of time given in service which will help create a new generation of young christians who will serve both their church and their faith in years to come. When the time comes, they too will be asked to take up their cross and make sacrifices for the glory of god.
You see it is my belief that how we live our lives comes down to the choice of two cultures and we must decide which one will guide our paths. The choices are indulging yourselves for instant gratification or making sacrifices for the betterment of humanity. I believe these choices not only say a lot about us as individuals but they also select which of the two completing political visions of conservative economics laced with a faux interest in social liberalism when it suits you to advance to it or real democratic socialism in action. I know which one of the two I prefer, after all it is real socialists who will walk the road of faith as they give their time to empower communities. In contrast I say those who worship greed and not god will only take from the pot and give nothing back in return. I know which choice I’ll make, to me the road could not be clearer I worship in the house of god and not at the temple of greed.
Love And Best Wishes