Sunday 11th October 2020 Trinity XVIII A reflection from the Rev'd Russell Duncan

Submitted by Dean on Sat, 10/10/2020 - 14:16

Trinity XVIII – Sunday 11th October 2020

Think about these things……

As a lawyer, I spend much of my working week thinking about words. What do they mean? What do they say? Have I understood them? Am I being clear when I speak or write? Do I have the courage to say that I don’t understand what is being said or what a particular impressive word might mean?

There is a client who invariably uses the phrase “modus operandi” in every conversation we have. I know what it means but it is not a phrase I would use myself.

Since I was last with you over six months ago, I have had time to think about what has been happening globally; in our own communities; in our circle of friends and among colleagues. How have things changed? What is important to me? What are my priorities? What does the future hold? When will I be able to attend a live concert, or travel abroad or go down to London?

I recently went into the local post office to get some five-pound notes for my elderly mother. She does not have internet banking and relies upon cash or writing cheques. In front of me was an old lady with a walking stick, not unlike her. She asked for a stamp, removed it from the sticky backing and put it on her envelope prior to handing it over to be posted. As she turned round to leave, the postmaster said “Do you wish me to put the sticky backing in the bin?”. She replied “Yes. Thank you.  I didn’t see it”. That was not sufficient for him. He persisted by saying “It is normal to put waste paper in the bin; don’t you know?”. She replied further by saying “I’m sorry. I’m just a bit nervous today”. She turned round, bowed her head and left suitably chastened and rebuked. There was no need for such behaviour. He was being disrespectful and objectionable. I had seen it before. What was even more galling was that there was a sign in front of the counter saying “Abusive and threatening behaviour will not be tolerated”. My dilemma, being next in the queue, was whether or not to say anything to him.

The words from Philippians 4:8-9 which we hear today: -

“Finally, beloved,

Whatever is true, whatever is honourable,

Whatever is just, whatever is pure,

Whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable,

If there is any excellence

And if there is anything worthy of praise,

Think about these things.

Keep on doing the things that you have learned

And received and heard and seen in me,

And the God of peace will be with you”.

are some of my favourite. They speak of all that is true, honourable, just, pure, pleasing and commendable. Some of the characteristics of what it means to love, to be human, to be kind, to be vulnerable. Seeking to follow the One who became flesh and dwelt among us and who still longs to be known by us too.

In the delightful book “The Boy, the mole, the fox and the horse” by Charlie Mackesy  he writes in the foreward “I hope that this book encourages you perhaps to live courageously with more kindness for yourself and others. And to ask for help when you need it - which is always a brave thing to do”.

Think about these things…….