A Better Way to Live. Talk given by Don Ashworth
Last Thursday a cub was invested into the Scout group I was
Helping at .
During the previous few weeks he had been learning all about
what it meant to be a cub scout , the meaning of the promise
and how to interpret the cub scout law . Now his Akela was
investing him into the World wide Scouts Association. To add to
his world badge he was given his West Lancashire badge, his
district badge, his group badge and his neckerchief with his
sixes coloured woggle.
Part of his investiture involved him in learning the Cub promise
‘I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and the queen
To help other people
And to keep the Cub scout Law’
The law states that a Cub scout always does his/her best
Think of others before themselves
And do a good turn every day.
We hope by spending time explaining the law and promise; by
giving him activities to reinforce the scouting way, that the cub
is helped to remember the fundamentals of scouting
to become a life long guide to the way he could choose to live
both within scouting and within the wider community.
Nehemiah, the Governor of Judea under the Persian leader
Artaxerxes 1 had returned with the exiled Jews from Babylon
back home to Judea .and what a devastating scene they found
- Jerusalem’s city walls had been destroyed and the temple ruined.
The people were disillusioned they were having to rebuild everything.
It was Nehemiah's job to organise the rebuilding of Jerusalem ,
its walls and its temple. Helping the people returning to rebuild
It was the priest Ezra’s job to motivate the disillusioned people
to remind them of their rich history, of their God Yahweh not
only to teach them the law that God had given to Moses but to
understand and to interpret what was being said to them and
what it meant to live by the law, to be faithful to their God to be
fair in their dealings with each other. Their guide was the law
which together with the Word of God formed a solid base for
the renewal of their life and worship. They were rebuilding their
homes and their lives on firm foundations.
A life long guide to the way they could choose live..
Our gospel reading takes place just after Jesus had spent time
with His father in the wilderness to discern what his role was to
be, what he was expected to do for his father as God in human
form intervening in human history to make a difference to
share God’s love justice and compassion to be a life long guide
for His disciples to give them a code to live by.
Jesus guided by the Holy Spirit declares himself
to be the fulfilment of the Isiah’s promised Messiah. Foretold in
Isaiah chapter 61 ‘the spirit of the lord God is upon me
because the lord has anointed me he has sent me to bring
good news to the poor and oppressed to bind up the broken
hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the
Jesus was to say that he was this person - the one anointed by
the Spirit (echo's of his baptism) a messianic claim .
Some commentators suggest that poor were those excluded
from religion and society the marginalised through
gender, race, age, or disease
This was to herald a better way to live. just as Isaiah had given
to those in need a hope and a promise of a better life -
Jesus too was speaking to people in need of a new hope he
was inviting them as he’s inviting us today to follow his better
way ,to choose to live by his rule
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all
your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and
your neighbour as yourself.’
Our cub has the choice to follow the cub scout way of working
with others; to follow the scout law always does his/her best
Think of others before themselves And do a good turn every
day. the people returning from Babylon have the choice of
following the new interpretation of Moses’ laws to live a better
As Christians when we hear the last verse in our gospel
reading ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’
Isaiah’s prophesy had come true but we still need to bring the
good news to the poor, release to captives imprisoned for their
faith in Jesus, bring freedom to the oppressed – Jesus began
this work . Are we ready to share, with the help of the Holy
Spirit, God’s love shown here at St. Andrew’s throughout our
to give more people the chance of hearing the good news ?
; the chance to join us in living the way Jesus would have us
With God’s help we can
As Malcom Guite said ‘Our actions in His name are also
Christ’s actions in us, and in him the fulfilment of all these
things will come. Amen