Rev'd Charles - January 2018

posted 2 Feb 2018, 01:20 by Richard Jones   [ updated 2 Feb 2018, 01:20 ]

View From the Vicarage



 For some that’s a greeting, for others a political organisation but for many of us respect is something which seems to be sadly lacking in today’s society. In years gone by we would certainly have respected the elderly, the police, doctors, teachers and even politicians! But now in the world of twitter and emails many appear to think they can voice any opinion without considering the effect this may have on others and sometimes that opinion shows a distinct lack of respect. 

 Unfortunately, this attitude is not new. Back in the first century Paul reminded the Christians in Rome that they should obey the governing authorities and give respect and honour to those in authority (Romans 13:1 – 7). This applied not only to secular leaders but also to spiritual leaders in the church. The Letter to the Hebrews encourages Christians to “follow the example of the faith of your spiritual leaders who watch over your souls and who speak God’s message” (Hebrews 13:7, 17). 

 Paul himself later wrote to the Christians in Greece “pay proper respect, and honour those who work among you, who guide and instruct you in the Christian life. Show them great respect and whole hearted love because of the work they do. Live peaceably with one another.”

 (1 Thessalonians 5:12 -13) Indeed the two greatest commandments are these said Jesus “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as you love yourself” (Matthew 22: 37 - 39). So writes James “do not complain or grumble about each other” for if “you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue you are fooling yourself and your religion is worthless” (James 5:9, 1:26). 

 Of course it is right that we should expect the highest standards from those with authority and responsibility and that includes Christian ministers (1Timothy 3:1 -13, 2 Timothy 2:24 -26, 4:1 -5). But even if our leaders occasionally fail we should still respect the office they represent. And even more than this we should respect them as people because we have all been made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26 -27). 

 So as this new year begins perhaps our New Year’s Resolution could be one word ‘Respect’ - respect for creation and the environment, respect for organisations and institutions, respect for property and buildings but most of all respect for one another because we have all been created in God’s image.

And God cares so much for his creation that he came in Jesus to save us and redeem us (Matthew 1:18 -25). 

 Therefore writes Paul “get rid of your old self which made you live as you used to and put on the new self which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy” (Ephesians 4: 17 -32) So may we be of real help and encouragement to each other in the year ahead as we treat one another in a way that we ourselves would like to be treated – and what a difference that could make to our country and our community in 2018.