Wednesday 11th May: Midweek Thought: Rev Jo Sweeney

I was disturbed when I read of a young college student from these parts who was interviewed on radio about a report he had written recommending that religion be kept out of schools. As a Christian minister I have been privileged on countless occasions to conduct morning assemblies in local schools. The feedback I have received has always been positive though of course I am not so foolish as to overlook the fact that there will have been occasions where I will have been considered an ‘oul ejit’.

Last Sunday a little boy was brought forward by his parents for Baptism. I said then as I often do that this is a difficult world in which to bring up children and I reminded the congregation of their need for ongoing prayer support. The little boy’s name was Benjamin and I used his name to make up a little mnemonic that goes like this. Believe everyone needs Jesus and make it (k)nown. I challenge you in this world where it is not ‘cool to be Christian’ to follow the thinking behind that mnemonic.

Later in that service I read from Acts 16. It is the story of Paul and Silas in jail just because they were Christians. Their teaching and practice had upset the equilibrium in the city of Philippi and their punishment was of the severest including beating and flogging. In the midst of all this they found strength to praise God by singing. Miraculously an earthquake broke open the jail doors and while the other prisoners escaped, Paul and Silas stayed to help the jailer who was on the point of suicide believing he would be blamed for the breakout.

Paul and Silas ‘believed everyone needed Jesus and made it (k)nown’ but they paid a high price for doing so. We are called to do the same bearing in mind the following statements:-

  • Difficulty and hardship will never be far from those who want to tell others about Jesus.
  • But even in the dark hours of the night God is always close by. Psalm 42 verse 8 says ‘By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me’.
  • God still demonstrates his power in wonderful and mighty ways.