Here is the Faithful Friday word for you!
Faithful Friday is an initiative from our clergy to further explore the Word of God and to reconnect people with Bible verses.
Please feel free to reflect on what each passage means to you and let us know if any of the passages inspire you.
This time we are also including a blog style comment from Revd David Hildred or Revd Robert Legge. Please see our Newsletters for the blog posts.
Also, explore our other Faithful Friday posts at:
Faithful Friday for 4.2.2022 (DH)
Yesterday we had what seemed like a harsh reading as Ishmael is sent away from Abraham’s household, but it emphasized that God’s promise of blessing and numerous descendants would be “reckoned through Isaac”; this was the child of the promise. Today it looks as if that promise is about to be destroyed. At the human level this is an event which raises all sorts of alarms: why could Abraham contemplate being obedient to this command? Hebrews 11:17-19 is where Scripture enlightens Scripture. We will probably never be called to make such a sacrifice, but do these Scriptures help us to consider how we do hold what is precious and God-given to us?
Faithful Friday for 11.2.2022 (DH)
There were clearly some challenging situations that were growing up in the churches that Paul had planted, and we hear how he tries to help Timothy apply the principles of the Christian faith to these testing situations. It was (and is today) so lovely to be part of the church family where everyone was looking out for each other and sharing in carrying burdens and trials. However, it appears that some where taking advantage of that situation (it’s not clear why); some to neglect their own relatives, some to abandon responsibility for their own lives. Is there anything similar in our own day where our ‘freedom in Christ’ is in danger of being misused?
Faithful Friday for 18.2.2022 (DH)
Paul is coming to the end of his ministry and he urges Timothy to be completely focused on passing on the good news of Jesus to others, rather than being caught in pointless quarrels or distracted by the temptations of the world. He has three main weapons for the battle: the Holy Spirit who lives in him, his trusted teachers who live with him, and Scripture, which sets him up for a Godly life. Our task of handing on the good news to our generation and the ones that follow is the same, and surely our weapons for the battle remain the same too. How well are we “fighting the good fight”? (reminder of 1Tim 6:12)
Faithful Friday for 25.2.2022 (DH)
At first glance it might seem that Paul is teaching Titus that everyone should know their place and keep to it, but then we soon realise that Paul is promoting a rebellion. It’s not a rebellion against human institutions, but against human nature; when we choose to live God’s way over against our distracted and selfish human nature’s ways then transformation becomes much more possible rather than simply replacing one institution for another. Paul draws attention to the keys that open such a door: God’s grace, his rescue of us, his rebirthing and renewal of us – available through the hope we have in Jesus!
Faithful Friday for 4.3.2022 (RL)
How many of you have a “To Do” list? Personally I wouldn’t be without mine! I love starting the day with my list and by the time I have finished, the tasks are all completed and as a reward I have a late evening coffee and chocolate biscuit. Perfect eh?
Well yes, however we need to be careful with our list as they can sometimes work out in a totally different way. We can begin to think that unless we complete every task completely and perfectly we will have somehow failed and therefore we are not good enough both at what we do and who we are.
In the same way Paul reminds us in this passage that Christian faith is not about perfectly obeying God’s law and if we fail to do so then He no longer loves us or sees us as His children. We are children of God’s grace not slaves to God’s law. This is something that Paul emphasises again and again in Galatians and it is something we constantly need to be reminded of in our “must do better” society. We strive to please God because we love Him and are grateful for what He has done for us but we should never forget that our redemption is based upon His unconditional love, not our imperfect religious “to do” lists. As we enter the season of Lent let us not think that it is our good works that save us; rather it is through God’s amazing love.
Faithful Friday for 11.3.2022 (RL)
Do you remember those awful jokes from a few years ago that began, “What’s the difference between X and Y?” My personal favourite as a child was “What’s the difference between an elephant and a flea? And the answer is that an elephant can have fleas but a flea can’t have elephants!” Apologies to you all!
What’s the difference between someone who lives by the Spirit and someone who doesn’t? Read the passage in Galatians and you will see. It is all about the sinful nature over against the fruits of the Spirit. As followers of Jesus we are to display the fruits of God’s Spirit living in us as we reject the sinful nature.
Now I can imagine an obvious response to this. You know many people who are not Christians but would never dream of behaving in the ways that verses 19-321 suggest, however I think that this tends to miss the point somewhat. What Paul is saying is that all of us by nature tend to swerve in the direction of sin. It is only by submitting our sinful natures to the power of God’s Spirit that we can live lives fully worthy of Him and that He can change us into the sorts of people He wants us to be. Please notice that our passage doesn’t speak about “The Fruits of (Insert your own name here!), rather it is by God’s Holy Spirit working in us that we become daily more like Him.
Faithful Friday for 18.3.2022 (RL)
When you were a teenager were you a rebel? Drainpipe trousers, mini skirts, bellbottoms, leather jackets and safety pins? How did your rebellion manifest itself in your behaviour and more importantly what was the reason behind your rebellion?
My guess is that you thought that you could do better in the world than the people against whom you were rebelling; teachers, parents, clergy and fuddy duddy “square” adults in general.
In our passage today we read about the most serious form of rebellion we can have; rebellion against God Himself. And the principle process of rebellion seems to be the hardening of the heart against God and His commands. Now of course this is not a physical condition but rather an attitude of the mind and will, whereby we turn from God’s plans and purposes and we attempt to go our own way. Foolishly we think that we know better than God.
And twice in this passage God begs us not to have this attitude. He knows that people who rebel against Him and harden their hearts bring on trouble upon themselves. It is not a question of God being in a huff because the children are playing up, it is about the fact that in His love He knows that rebellion against His love ultimately brings hardship and pain to His beloved children. By comparison He encourages us to daily encourage one another and to hold firmly to the truth of Jesus as we serve Him and listen to Him faithfully day by day.
Faithful Friday for 25.3.2022 (RL)
This is a passage that we normally read over the Christmas period however 25th March is the date where the Church traditionally remembers the visit by Gabriel to Mary 9 months before the birth of Jesus. And when I read this passage I often think of that famous song lyric by Simon and Garfunkel; “Slow down, you’re movin’ too fast!” After all, here is Mary doing what Mary normally does when suddenly an angel appears telling her that she is highly favoured by God, that she will give birth to the Messiah and that the Holy Spirit will be the reason why it all happens! We could forgive Mary for wanting to press pause, sit down with a nice cup of tea and take time to reflect on all of this. And yet Mary’s response surely surprises us in the light of our own fast moving society, she simply responds “OK, I love God, He knows what He is doing, I am His servant, let it be so!”
Because of course our timings and God’s timings are not the same and we need to remember that when God says that He is going to do something in our lives He gives us the power of His Spirit to accomplish all that He sets out to achieve. Like Mary in the days that lie ahead let us put our trust in God and in His timings and to follow wherever He leads.
Faithful Friday for 1.4.2022 (DH)
The letter has been building a great crescendo during recent days and now reaches its climax in this chapter as the writer underlines again and again that Jesus has completed the job that the Old Testament sacrificial system was not able to complete. It is Jesus who makes us perfect and holy because he has paid the full price so that our sins are forgiven and remembered no more. This good news is good news only because the severity of the alternative is real for those who won’t accept the gift that God offers. We accept that gift by faith, as the following chapter describes. Let’s be confident in Jesus and sure of what we are looking forward to.
Faithful Friday for 8.4.2022 (DH)
The writer draws this letter to a close, reminding us that those who rely upon the old covenant (animal sacrifices, etc.) need to shift to the new covenant in Jesus, and those who think this earth is solid and unshakeable need to look to God’s Kingdom which is far more permanent (even though it is unseen). Arising out of that the writer offers us some practical ways in which all of this should change our lives: we are to be known for our love, hospitality and care. We are to be seen to live holy lives and fill our lives with God rather than any other passions. Amongst the many things that are mentioned in this final chapter, is there something that prompts you to take a particular step as you seek to grow in Christ?
Faithful Friday for 15.4.2022 (DH)
Many of us will have travelled with Jesus through this Holy Week on that journey from Palm Sunday through to this day which we call Good Friday. The way that John records the events is heavily related to what has been said in the Old Testament Scriptures, “so that the Scripture would be fulfilled”. This is no accidental death, this is God’s rescue plan unfolding exactly as he intended. And so the cry from the cross of “It is finished” is not a cry of desperation, of failure, but it is the shout of victory, of the work completed, of the rescue secured. We acknowledge the gravity and solemnity of today, whilst also recognising why it is so Good; praise the Lord.
Faithful Friday for 22.4.2022 (DH)
This great chapter on ‘resurrection’ was written to help those who couldn’t quite see whether it was important to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead or not. Paul gives an emphatic “Yes it is!” – even to the point of saying that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then there is no point in us believing: it is absolutely pivotal to our faith. Some practical questions remained in the minds of some, and Paul draws out that our resurrection life is of a vastly superior order, rather than thinking it is just about this life going on for longer. Rejoice in the resurrection (whilst enjoying those chocolate eggs!).
Faithful Friday for 29.4.2022 (DH)
We would never be like the ancient Israelites, would we? They had just experienced God’s great rescue of them out of slavery in Egypt and now they were grumbling and complaining, suggesting that they preferred the life they had before. Jesus on the cross is described as our great ‘exodus’ from slavery to sin: let’s check whether we are grumbling and complaining about the right things. And let’s also praise our amazingly gracious God: he provided that miraculous manna for his people (which wouldn’t last for more than a day except when it was the Sabbath – miraculous!) and he still answers our prayer, “Give us today our daily bread”.
Friday 6th May Exodus 28 v 1-5, 29-38 (RL)
I hope that you take time to read these passages today because they give a wonderful description of the priestly robes and clothing that the priests wore in the Old Testament period. I remember as a child being given a children’s bible and there was a full coloured drawing of a priest in it. It looked amazing! Go online and look it up; you will see what I mean. Visibly amazing as the robes are, they pale into nothing compared to our own great High Priest, Jesus Himself. The beauty of the priests in the Old Testament was superficial however the beauty we see in Jesus reflects His life, His character and His love for us all. In our own lives let us reflect that beauty and love as we reach
out into our communities and share His message with others.
Friday 13th May Exodus 35 v 20-36 v 7 (RL)
I wonder if as you read these verses today that you can see that basically there are two groups of people in the story. Firstly there are those who bring and secondly those who make. And of course the second group couldn’t have made anything if the first group hadn’t brought the materials along in the first place. On the other hand if the people had brought their gifts and offerings along and there had been nobody to fashion them into things of beauty, then the whole exercise would have been pointless. In the same way we all have different talents, abilities and things that we can bring to our parish. Let’s do so remembering that the one thing that both groups had in common was that they were both working for God and for His glory!
Friday 20th May Luke 6 v 1-11 (RL)
Have you ever played the game 2×2= whereby you keep multiplying your score and you have to be able to get the right answer as quickly as possible? 2×2 is fairly easy but once you start getting to 2,5000 x 2,5000 it becomes more challenging and confusing. This in a nutshell is what the Pharisees in Jesus’ time had done; they had taken God’s basic laws and multiplied them up until they were next to impossible for people to keep. Let me draw your attention to a great example in this passage; the disciple’s action in rubbing grain in their hands and eating it was seen as threshing! And sadly the practice had escalated to such an extent that even Jesus’ loving act of healing a suffering fellow human being had become an offence to these super pious religious types. What is more important as we follow Jesus in our parish? Are we concerned with the keeping of our own wee rules some of which we don’t really understand ourselves or do we wish to show God’s love to people with whom we come into contact day after day? Jesus Himself said, “The Sabbath was made for people not people for the Sabbath” (Mark 2 v 27). Lets keep the proper perspective!
Friday 27th May Luke 7 v 11-17 (RL)
Wouldn’t it be great if you or I were able to stand in the crowd in Jesus’ day and actually watch a miracle taking place! Surely if anybody saw such a thing they would instantly understand who Jesus is…right? Well consider the people present in today’s reading. They saw the whole miracle,
from the boy being carried out of the city with his mother behind him to the same boy sitting up and talking. Surely Jesus has more than made His point! And yet look at the people’s response? They describe Jesus as “A great prophet!” They still don’t fully understand who this man is. Even the line “ God has come to help His people (v16) has to be seen in the context of the “Great prophet” comment. The Christian writer J.B. Phillips once wrote a book entitled Your God is too small. Can that be the danger for us especially those of us who have been Christians for a number of years? Our God becomes smaller and smaller until He is little more than an extension of our own personalities. Lets not worship a “small” God in our parish, let us worship and experience God in all His fullness.