The Highway Code for Life
First, let's talk to our younger generation, the vibrant and inquisitive youngsters in our midst! You've all seen those L plates on cars, haven’t you? They are signs that someone is still learning to drive, and it might make us sigh if we're stuck behind them. But here's a secret - when it comes to the journey of life and following Jesus, we're all learners! The learning doesn't stop once you graduate from Sunday school; in fact, that's when the real lesson begins.
Just as a driver needs to understand the Highway Code before hitting the road, we need to understand the Bible – our very own Highway Code for life! This book holds great wisdom and guidelines for us, helping us navigate our journey. But remember, understanding the Bible might be tricky and living by it even more challenging - that's why we have Jesus, our ultimate teacher.
And kids, be cautious of bad drivers, people who don’t follow the rules of life. They can be misleading! We remember the story of a taxi driver and a minister, who both ended up in heaven. The minister thought he should be rewarded more, but the taxi driver was blessed with a mansion because when he drove, everyone prayed! That’s a funny way to remind us about the importance of good deeds and sincere prayers.
Now, let’s address the adults among us, those who carry the wisdom and experiences of years. Remember the line from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, “The quality of mercy is not strained”? Mercy, my friends, is twice blessed – it blesses the giver and the receiver. Shakespeare's eloquent words beautifully tie with the teachings of Prophet Hosea from the 8th century BC. He urged the followers of Israel to show genuine worship and mercy, just as God forgives our sins time and time again.
As we dive into the teachings of Matthew, a tax collector who became a follower of Jesus, we see the same theme of mercy. Matthew, the tax collector, despite his questionable profession, was accepted and loved by Jesus. This acceptance and inclusion show us that God doesn’t want mere religious people, he seeks people who are merciful.
Joining the communion table isn't about our merits. It’s all thanks to the grace and mercy of God. We are not just to accept His grace but to share it. This act of sharing mercy, as Shakespeare put it, blesses both the giver and the taker. Maybe instead of judging others, we should focus on accepting others.
Finally, we love to laugh at ourselves, don't we? Let's recall the tale of the Arab Sheik and the Scotsman who had the same rare blood type. The Sheik, upon receiving the Scotsman's blood, sent a BMW, a diamond necklace, and £100,000 in appreciation. But after the second donation, he only sent a box of Quality Street chocolates! His excuse? He now had good Scottish blood in his veins!
It’s a funny story, but it also reminds us that generosity isn't just about money. It’s about being inclusive, making others feel loved and cared for. It's about helping others to feel they belong, just as Jesus did with Matthew, the tax collector.
Mercy is a blessing, a double blessing in fact. In our journey, let's strive to be those drivers who follow the code of mercy, sharing it on every bend and turn. As Jesus said, "blessed are the merciful – for they shall receive mercy." Let's show the world the strength of our mercy, demonstrating through our actions that we, as followers of Jesus, are champions of love, forgiveness, and acceptance. We can be like Matthew, who despite his past, used his skills to share the teachings of Jesus and transform the early Church.
We all have the power to make a positive difference in the world, especially when we express love and mercy to others. So, as we journey through this week, let's share the warmth of our hearts and the grace of our faith. Remember, every act of kindness and every word of love echoes in eternity. Let’s start a ripple of mercy that will flow across Scotland and beyond!
Here's to a week filled with kindness, compassion, and mercy. Be blessed, and be a blessing!