From the Manse September 2019

Dear Friends,

With all the political news dominating our screens at the moment, I am reminded of the great speaker of the House of Commons, Betty Boothroyd. She had the reputation of being tough, but fair, with sound speaking abilities and a keen sense of humour.

This was not always the case; as a young woman making her way in the world of politics, she was acutely aware of her inexperience of addressing large gatherings.

In her autobiography she recounts that in her early political career she was invited to address the annual general meeting of a voluntary organisation. At first she was nervous but got through her speech and was pleased at her performance and the positive responses she received. At the end of the night the secretary of the group asked if she required any expenses. She replied that after such a pleasant evening there was no fee.

‘That's very kind of your’ replied the secretary. He went on to say ‘You see, we are a new organisation and we are busy building up funds so we can book some first-class speaker next year’

Jesus told his listeners two millennia earlier to be careful how they consider themselves. Whether it was guests taking their seats at a wedding, men hiring themselves out to work in a vineyard, or disciples arguing about who would have the best seat in heaven. He reminded them that ‘the first shall be last and the last shall be first’ and that the least among us shall be considered the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

His teaching is still as true today, even if you do not aspire to become speaker of the House of Commons.

Grace and Peace to you

Alan