Weekly Reflection (3rd August 2020)
Good morning. A special welcome to you who are joining us for the first time and of course a very warm welcome back you the rest of you.
Here we go again with another round of harsher lockdown. While the 8 pm to 5 am curfew may not impact you too much, the other restrictions on shopping for necessities, exercises, travel, schooling, public transport, workplace and even weddings might add to the irritations we already experienced to date.
Stay with me through the end of our time together and we will learn about how to deal with those things that irritates us. Again, in this depressing time, how important it is to have faith in God and a positive outlook in life that can be so liberating, refreshing and empowering.
Let us pray:
For this new day I give Thee humble thanks: for its gladness and its brightness: for its long hours waiting to be filled with joyous and helpful labours: for its open doors of possibilities: for its hope of new beginnings.
Quicken in my heart, I beseech Thee, the desire to avail myself richly to this day’s opportunity. Let me not break faith with any of yesterday’s promises, nor leave unrepaired any of yesterday’s wrongs. Let me see no fellow traveller in distress and pass by on the other side. Let me leave no height of duty unattempted, nor any evil habit un-assaulted.
Where deed of mine can help to make this world a better place for others to live in, where word of mine can cheer a despondent heart or break a weak will, where prayer of mine can hasten the coming of Christ’s Kingdom, there let me do and speak and pray. Grant me the grace to live this day worthy of His name I bear. Amen.
The Collect of the Week
Ninth Sunday After Pentecost
Almighty God, whose beloved son for our sake willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross: Give us courage and patience to take up our cross daily and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Ever made a list of things that irritate you? Here are a few I’ve got on mine: traffic jams, long lines, misplaced keys, stuck zippers, interruptions, late planes, squeaking doors, incompetence, and flat tyres.
One of these days it should dawn on us that we’ll never be completely free of irritations as long as we are on this planet. Never. Upon coming to this profound conclusion, we would be wise to consider an alternative to loosing our cool. The secret is adjusting.
Sounds simple … but it isn’t. several things tend to keep us on the edge of irritability. For one thing, we develop habit reactions, wrong though they may be. Also, we’re usually in a hurry – impatient. Add to that, the fact that our daily expectations are unrealistic; there’s no way we can possibly get it done anyway. All this increases the level of pressure within us. And when you increase the heat in our highly pressurised system by a fiery irritation or two (or three) … BOOM! Off goes the lid and out comes the steam.
When it comes to irritation, I’ve found it helps if I remember that I am not in charge of my day… God is. And while I’m sure he wants me to use my time wisely, He is more concerned with the development of my character and the cultivation of the qualities that make me Christlike within. One of His preferred method of training is through adjustments to irritations.
A perfect illustration? The oyster and its pearl. An irritation occurs when the shell of the oyster is invaded by an alien substance – like a grand of sand. When that happens, all the resources within the tiny, sensitive oyster rush to the irritated spot and begin to release healing fluids that otherwise would have remained dormant. By and by the irritant is covered – by a pearl. Had there been no irritating interruption, there would have been no pearl.
No wonder our heavenly home has pearly gates to welcome the wounded and bruised who have responded correctly to the sting of irritations.J.B. Phillips must have realised this when he paraphrased James 1:2-4: “ When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men [and women] of mature character.”
How many pearls have you made this week?
The Morning Collect
Eternal God and Father, by whose power we are created and by whose love we are redeemed: guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves to your service, and live this day in love to one another and to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. May we rekindle the gift of God within us.
Thank you again for sharing this time with me. Have a wonderful and blessed week learning through his grace to adjust and produce pearls for Him. Goodbye and till we meet again here next Monday. God bless you.
 Baillie, John, A Diary of Private Prayer , Oxford University Press, Glasgow 1936. Page 17.
 Swindoll, Charles, Day by Day; Word Publishing: Nashville, page. 178.