I was set free from self-condemnation......

RAMBLING RECTOR

Church buildings can open for public worship now, but I will continue to send a short reflection, for those of you who must continue to ‘shield’. It will be based on the topic of the Sunday Sermon, but not a transcript of it.  Let me know if you want a full transcript and I’ll get one to you.

 

SUNDAY 12 July

 

Romans chapter 8 verses 1 to 4

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

This is the Word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

 

Matthew chapter 13 verses 1 to 8

1 …Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

This is the Word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

 

REFLECTION

I love the children’s book, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

It’s the story of how a lonely and self-absorbed orphan girl called Mary is taken in rather grudgingly by an uncle to live on his large estate in Yorkshire. Mary discovers a walled garden that has been locked away and neglected. Very slowly with the help of a local youngster, she begins to restore it to beauty.  She shares the secret of the garden with her cousin a sicky and delicate boy, who believes himself unable to walk, and doomed to die young. In the process of working in the garden, their own characters begin to change, their health becomes transformed and they discover joy and laughter. As they are changed so are the adults around them. The secret and locked away garden also under-goes a profound transformation. A garden abandoned 10 years earlier after its creator and caretaker died, is changed from an overgrown, neglected garden with dead and dying plants to a well-tended, vibrant garden full of healthy plants. 

 

In our Gospel reading, Jesus tells the story of seed scattered on different kinds of ground. Just like the seed scattered by the sower, so our Christian growth is dependent on our roots being able to access ‘good soil’ which is an understanding of our freedom in Christ Jesus. As Paul states in his letter to the church in Rome that we can be free from condemnation, free from fear, free from guilt.

 

For me, many years ago, those words from Romans, which I read at ‘random’ one evening, came to me like a shaft of sunlight. I realised that all the past, all the disappointments, all the negative feelings, all the frustration, none of it could imprison me, or limit me, if I was in Christ Jesus. I was set free from self-condemnation, set free from the judgement of other people. There could be life and there could be peace. Life did not suddenly change and become without problems, but I could begin to grow, rooted in that sense of being set free - set free in Christ. Free to grow in good soil. Free to be rooted in ground from which the debris of the past has been cleared.

 

What might there be in you that limits your freedom to grow into the person God created you to be?
Fear? Envy? Resentment? Guilt? None of those things can condemn you now. You are free, you are forgiven, you are released, you can grow and flourish.

 

Let us pray… Gracious God, we thank you that all good gifts come from you. We thank you for all you have already given us. And, as the good soil welcomes the seed, and causes it to grow, we welcome you to take root and flourish in our lives. Amen


 Printable Version
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