Daily Devotion 07 May 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

John 11:47-48 ‘Plotting against Jesus’

47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, ‘What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.’

Some of us may at times have aspired to high office, but few of us would envy the position some national leaders have found themselves in recently in Brazil, Russia, Westminster and even in Premier League Football. Scarcely a day goes by without a public figure being subjected to intense scrutiny by the media. The failure of such people to live up to our high expectations can be great, with careers ruined overnight.

It seems reasonable to expect people in authority to justify the trust we place in them but all too often we appear vindictive, determined to humiliate those who fall from grace. We readily criticise when taxes are increased, services withdrawn or our comfortable lifestyles threatened, with the presumption that we or someone else could do a far better job. It takes courage to make hard decisions, and the cost can be great. Unfortunately, the compliments do not usually come until we are dead and buried.

Jesus felt the pressure of religious leaders who watched his every move, hoping to find a way to discredit him, but in the end resorting to lies to undermine him. They criticised him for eating with outcasts, accused him of blasphemy and of claiming to be a king. Their envy and hatred knew no bounds and, in the end, they hoisted him onto a cross, a timely reminder to others temped to follow the same path.

Yet amazingly, over the years millions of people like ourselves have chosen to follow Christ and take up the call to love God and our neighbour as ourselves. We are urged not to destroy those in high office, but “‘to make petitions, prayers, request and thanksgivings to God for all people; for kings and all others who are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceful life, godly and respectful in every way.’ (1 Timothy 2:1).

Indeed, if criticism is to be offered it may be appropriate for us first to examine how well we live up to our commitment to regular worship, prayer, fellowship, service and all the other demands Christ makes on us if we want to be part of his church. It is unlikely that when our Lord calls us one day to account for the lives we have lived that he will be too interested in lame excuses or criticisms of others.

Prayer:

Release us Lord from the sin of pride, from placing ourselves above others and above you.

We pray for our leaders in high office and all with power to influence others,
that they may exercise it wisely, always mindful of their accountability to you.

Grant to us the same gifts to act wisely, deal justly
and show compassion in our dealings with each other. Amen.

Reflection and Prayer © 2021 Roger McAvoy.
Image freely available online.

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