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Gossip or glory?

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2. 9

TS Eliot encapsulated the triviality of life without purpose as being measured out in coffee spoons and lost golf balls. But, in his first letter, the apostle Peter offers a more glorious alternative for those who choose to embrace their God-given destiny. John Buchan is quoted as saying that education is not about instilling greatness into people because it is already there. It is about eliciting and liberating that potential.

News of a vaccine against Covid 19 is welcome indeed: hope for the future and evidence of humankind's growing ability to master the science of life. Whether we use that to faithful or malevolent ends is a constant and developing conundrum. Weapons of mass destruction tell us everything we need to know about the dark side of our creative abilities. So how can we control our growing potential for good and evil?

Throughout the Bible you will find as many calls to repentance as exhortations to glory. This is not because God is a spoilsport but because he knows us too well and he loves us too deeply to leave us to our own devices. Acknowledging that everything we have and can do comes from God is an appropriate place to start. Admitting our weaknesses and propensity to sin is helpful in avoiding pride. The crucial thing (sic!) is to recognise our inability to save our souls and our dependence on Jesus for ultimate salvation.

King David knew a thing or two about greatness and getting it wrong. In his epic confessional, Psalm 51, he refers to the sacrifice of a "broken and contrite heart". God has a handy knack of rescuing the broken pieces and doing something marvellous with them: better than would otherwise have been possible!



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