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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

their lives.

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

life together.

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

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