19th June 2019

June 19, 2019

Lest We Miss It

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord.”
Leviticus 19:18 (ESV UK)

Love is a squishy-squashy fluid word. Its definition has elastic boundaries and people have a habit of misusing it, so it can be taken to mean a wide variety of thoughts, nice feelings, sentiments and actions.

But isn’t it an all-encompassing Christian virtue and the fundamental nature of God? God says he is love. That’s his whole nature, his whole being summed up. If it is so fundamental, you would have thought that we’d learn about it right at the beginning of the Bible as God first spoke to Adam and Eve. However, if you started on a reading programme beginning in Genesis, you won’t find it clearly defined. People who embark on reading the Bible from Genesis through to Revelation sometimes get to Leviticus and give up. The biblical story has ground to a halt and the reader is faced with wading through a chapter of laws and regulations. Those laws are laid out there because the first four books of the Bible were written for the Israelites, a people who not long before had been slaves. They had been systematically overworked and subjected to attempted genocide by their Egyptian masters. They had come from a background of abuse, and these laws were given to them to set out simply the way to express love. And there buried in the middle of them for the first time we find a clear statement of principle: love your neighbour as yourself.

This verse was picked up by Jesus when he was challenged by a lawyer trying to trip him up: Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? he asks. Jesus replies by first quoting Deuteronomy 6:5: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Then he says, “This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:35-40). He’s picked up that little sentence buried in the apparently unexciting book of Leviticus as being an underlying fundamental basis for love, and given us a clear, yet challenging guide within which we have the freedom to express our love to each other.

God of love, our thanks and praise to you that you have not left us bereft of knowledge and guidance to love one another. Jesus has shown us the way and has given us the mind and power to enable us to do so.

Study by Hilary Buck

About the Author:
Hilary Buck pastors Grace Communion in Lewes.
Like us on www.facebook.com/GCLewes

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Lewes
The House of Friendship
208 High Street

Meeting Time:
Sunday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Hilary Buck
Email: hilaryjbuck@gmail.com

12th June 2019

June 12, 2019

Pied Poudre

“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
Numbers 23:19 (NIV)

In medieval England and Scotland, visiting fairs were considered major events attended by most of the local population. The word ‘fair’ in Latin is ‘feria’ meaning festival, and indeed that is how people considered them. Fairs provided a major economic contribution to life in the middle ages. Merchants would come from far and wide to buy and sell their wares, some honest and some unscrupulous. Short measure, theft, shoddy goods and even violence could occur. A solution to these problems was the ‘Court of Pied Poudre,’ which was the common name though they were also known as the ‘Court of Piepowders.’ The term in English is roughly translated ‘dusty feet.’ The miscreants would receive instant on-site justice from the Mayor and bailiffs of the borough. Following judgement, the villains would be driven off— thus the ‘dusty feet.’

Today we have trading standards to protect the consumer. Even so, we read of occasions when vendors cheat or short-change the public. How wonderful it is that we as Christians have a God who never short-changes us. Quite the contrary, God continually loves us without conditions. He is ever merciful, and His promises are sure. Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

We have confidence that the promises God has given us stand true. He tells us in Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Courts of Pied Poudre lasted well into the 19th century. They were an effective tool of justice. We can rejoice in the fact that in God’s kingdom we will have no need of them or similar. Honesty and integrity bound by love will be the rule of the day— thy kingdom come!

Wonderful Father, thank you for your greatness. As your children, we trust and love you with hearts full of gratitude for your mercy and compassion.

Study by Irene Wilson

About the Author:
Irene Wilson is a Deaconess in the Watford Congregation of Grace Communion International, where she also serves on the Pastoral Council.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Watford, Herts.
WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george.sueann.henderson49@gmail.com