The Bungee Bounce
James 5: 13-20
13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.
19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, 20 you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
The story of Jonathan Aitken’s fall from wealthy member of Parliament to jailbird and bankrupt is well known. A little less well known is his discovery of saving faith in prison, his work with charities helping ex-prisoners, and his modest recovery of fortune. He has recently been ordained and appointed a prison chaplain working out of St Matthew’s Church, Westminster.
Who takes seriously a politician?
Scratch one, and you find a liar,
hand in glove with secret backers,
interest groups, yes, all who fire
their quiet arrows through the public good
and pull us down into the mire
we sadly call the state of national life.
Who took seriously a man like Aitken,
scratched, and found to be a liar
punished for his perjury by prison
and extinction of his former fire?
God did: with his friends he spoke
to Jonathan, and pulled him from the mire,
reclaimed for all the state of his own life.
PRAY Lord, we confess our sins – our economies with truth, our dodges round hard evidence, our lies. Have mercy upon us and upon our leaders.
Feed the faithless and the hungry
with the richness of your word;
cleanse the body of this nation
through the glory of the Lord. (From 'Judge Eternal, Throned In Splendor' by Henry Scott Holland)
Lord, lift our despair of politics with good stories, better leaders, and best of all the faith, the hope, the love you give us to confront the troubles of our time.
Break our cynicism about people with a daily discovery of goodness in wild places, grace in unexpected places.
Help our colleagues in kingdom service to walk wisely, persevere in godly love, and draw with us a daily measure of eternal life to guard us, guide us, fill us for our work. Amen.