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Answering God – Day 36

Answering God – 40 Days with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Day 36 – Tuesday in Holy Week

A&Q sidewaysTo Read:

Are you honest and truthful in all you say and do?
Do you maintain strict integrity in business transactions and in your dealings with individuals and organisations?
Do you use money and information entrusted to you with discretion and responsibility?
Taking oaths implies a double standard of truth; in choosing to affirm instead, be aware of the claim to integrity that you are making.
(Advices & Queries #37)

From the Scriptures: 

Jesus said, ‘Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13 No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’
(Luke 16v10-13) 

Above all, my beloved, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘Yes’ be yes and your ‘No’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
(James 5v12)

yes-no-signs 

To Reflect:

Let your ‘Yes’ be yes and your ‘No’…

Karen on FacebookIf only the whole world followed just this half-verse of Scripture?  We would be living in very different times and, even this pandemic, would have been handled differently.

We seem to have grown used to living in a world of half-truths and spin, propaganda and fake news, scientific proof that is belittled and junk theories that are elevated to facts of life.  A time of simply telling it how it is would be welcomed as very diplomatic and beneficial for all people.  Sadly economic, political, and national interests demand to be fed first even if it means that others suffer.  Remember my Lenten theme?  There is no ‘them’ there is only ‘us’.

Telling lies for personal or national gain has happened throughout the history of the human race.  In modern times we remember the Fifth Columnists of the Second World War, used on all sides as well as the propaganda of Lord Haw-Haw.  Even in the Scriptures deceit is practiced to gain personal advantage.[i]  No wonder Jesus suggests autism 'vaccine'that oaths are empty and the Religious Society of Friends sees through them and remind us that;

Taking oaths implies a double standard of truth; in choosing to affirm instead, be aware of the claim to integrity that you are making.

Integrity, however, is more than a question of parsing words and knowing the difference between making an oath and a solemn affirmation.  Neither will make an iota of difference to the common good if we do not live our lives for others.

So we get to the meat of today’s Advice.

The nub of the matter is not whether we swear oaths on a Holy Book or solemnly affirm our personal integrity it is all about what we do with that with which we have been entrusted.

Christians need to remember that we are not our own we were bought with a price’ and so must ‘glorify God in our bodies’.  Personal integrity is not just about being careful with those things – money, goods, information – with which we have been entrusted, but realising that we are trusted with life itself.  Part of making the good confession is that we remember that we have nothing to call our own and, wonderfully, as in the many Parables of the Talents, we are commanded to make things grow.

This command goes to the very beginning of our walk with the Beloved.  In the Beginning, God took the risk of endowing us with free will that we might love God and each other out of passion and not compulsion.  We were given two simple tasks: as God’s gardeners in the new-born Eden we were called to make it grow and keep it safe, and at the end of each day rejoice together over the bounty of God’s generosity and love.

But we failed.

money-is-not-the-root-of-all-evil-rain-bojangles-wisdom-quotesWe have too easily reduced the generosity of God to how much we have gained.  We have chosen to measure faithfulness in terms of worldly success instead of allowing ourselves to be seduced by an ever-deepening love that calls us to give ourselves away.

It is undoubtedly true that we ‘cannot serve God and wealth.’  But how we use our wealth, which is more than just money but all that we have and all that with which others have entrusted us, will always be a measure of how well we serve God.

As, in the days ahead, we turn crossward and remember the healing that was won for us there, let us learn again to give back to God all that has been given to us remembering the words of King David in the newly built Temple;

All things come from you,
and of your own have we given you
(1 Chronicles 29v14)

 

To Pray: 

We are alive in a fearsome time,
and we have been given new things to fear.

We’ve been delivered huge blows but also
huge opportunities to reinforce or reinvent our will,
depending on where we look for honour
and how we name our enemies.

The easiest thing is to think of returning the blows.
But there are other things we must think about as well,
other dangers we face.

The changes we dread most
may contain our salvation.
(Barbara Kingsolver)

  

To Do:

1)  Read slowly the note from ‘Advices & Queries’ above again
2)  If you have kept something that belongs to another, return it.
If you are owed something by another, forgive them.

 

Acknowledgements:

Quotes from ‘Advices & Queries’ are copyright © The Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain, 1995, 1997 and 2008

Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Prayers from ‘Prayers for Hard Times’ are copyright  © Becca Anderson 2017

These Reflections, ‘Answering God’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2020 – and may be reproduced without charge on condition that the source is acknowledged

 

[i] For good reason Jacob’s name mean ‘cheat’.  The Book of Judges is littered with examples of those who used deceit to get their own way, and in Holy Week we will hear again of the deception of Judas Iscariot.

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