Thought for the Week: The blessed hope of everlasting life - Rev Houston McKelvey
Apart from free news on the main television channels, I subscribe to three daily newspapers including this one. I have always been a newshound. Ministry-wise I rely on the advice of the great Scottish theologian William Barclay that a preacher should do so with the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.
I have a number of church mission and worship sites which prompt me to think.
One such is my end of day “app” produced by the Church of England. It follows the daily set of Bible readings. The commentator on the reading changes weekly. Each come from a range of church viewpoints and practices but all of them combine the scholarly with the practical and spiritual in a way that provokes me to thought and indeed spirituality.
Concluding each day's reading and comment is a form of prayer known in the Anglican Communion as a collect. I have been aware of collects from my earliest days in my home parish. Each Sunday has a collect crafted to be used daily through the rest of the week. In morning and in evening prayer it is followed by at least two other set daily collects.
This form of prayer has a richness and style which enables salvation and eternity to be expressed in a way that sticks not only in your memory but in your very soul.
Tomorrow is the fifth Sunday before Advent. Its collect gave rise to 'Bible Sunday' - a day set aside in the church calendar to celebrate the gift of God’s Word. Can I please encourage you to read it a couple of times while also upholding before God the Bible Societies throughout the world:
"Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort of Thy Holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which Thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."