Let us serve others as Jesus did

Hello everybody!  This morning the service was led by one of
our supernumerary ministers Rev. David Bucktrout.  His service was interesting and inspiring I
thought.  He had drawn a picture of a
boat which was obviously powered by a large number of rowers and that was
displayed at the front of the church.  As
soon as the service began there was a joyful upbeat feel to it.  We began with the hymn, ‘When morning guilds
the skies’, which just lifts my spirits. 
I loved it when he came down to talk to us, even though there were no
children present as usual during the holidays. 
He told us all about Vincent de Paul, who had come from a farming
family; as a boy his job was to look after the livestock on the farm and in one
of the fields there was a large oak tree, where he would sit with an excellent
view over the fields, and he had time to think and pray.  As he was a bright boy his parents arranged
for him to go the local monastery to be taught Latin, where he did so well that
from the age of 16 he became the Latin tutor of the boys who came.  However he felt the call to being a priest,
but as he was from an unprivileged background his parents would need to make
sacrifices to enable him to study. They sold some of their livestock to fund
his studies at which he excelled and was soon able to return as a priest.  He spent his time supporting the poor and
those in need and did such a good job that it was suggested he become a prison
chaplain.  In those days prisoners were
not just held in usual prisons but also in prison ships, where they were the
manpower for rowing them; it was a hard life; such ships were used to patrol
the coastal waters.  No one wanted the
hard work of rowing such ships, so prisoners were forced into that
employment.    Vincent
made conditions better for the prisoners wherever they were held and was
recognised by the King of France as his official representative to the
prisoners. 

One day when he was
visiting some prisoners, one of the prisoners was particularly disturbed as he
knew his wife was seriously ill and there was no one to care for his children,
so Vincent told him to change clothes with him, so he could leave the prison
ship to help his family, and he took his place rowing.  Fortunately he was a strong man, so he was
able to do the rowing without anyone noticing the swap.  Only after a few weeks did anyone notice they
had not seen Vincent for some time and matters were made worse when the king
wanted to see him!  They searched the
coastal area until they spotted him as a rower on the prison ship and he was
provided with fresh clothes and cleaned up to see the king.  What will always be remembered about him for
all his achievements in helping the poor and disadvantaged was the way he was prepared
to swap places with that distressed prisoner so he was free to help his
family.  He took the lowest place of a
prisoner.

 

Jesus took described in
a parable how the people who thought themselves important would take the best
seats at a meal, whereas he advised rather that they take the lower positions,
from where the host could invite them to move up, than automatically heading
for the seats nearest to the host.  David
actually had an experience like that when he was invited to a reception after
having officiated at a wedding.  When he
and his wife came through to the room where the buffet was being served they
realised there was no seat left and stood with their plates and drinks, until
the host called them to the top table!

The host of the meal
Jesus attended was also told not only to ask his friends and family to a meal,
but also to invite the disadvantaged, who would not be able to return the
invitation. 

 

Paul used the wonderful
early Christian hymn in Philippians 2v5-11 to show that Jesus did not grasp at
equality to God but became a servant and was obedient even to death on the
cross; he was then raised by God to the exalted position, so that ‘at the name
of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue
confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!’  Let us follow in Jesus’ footsteps and take
the lower place and serve others.  This
is the day that the Lord has made and I rejoice and am glad in it.

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