DEVOTIONAL
Presbyter  an Church Clogherney
Give Freely Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." (Luke 6.38 NRSV) One of the most successful musicals of the past decade has been Andrew Lloyd Webber's LES MISERABLES, based on the book of the same name by Victor Hugo. The main character of LES MISERABLES is Jean Valjean. Orphaned as a boy, Valjean reaches his teens only to take on the responsibility of caring for his widowed sister and her seven children. All his work couldn't pull his sister and her family out of poverty, and so one day a desperate Valjean steals a loaf of bread from a baker's shop, to keep the children from starving. He is soon arrested and thrown in jail, where his young heart becomes hardened with anger and hatred. After spending half his life in prison, Valjean is released to a world that doesn't want him. His criminal past causes him to be rejected and ostracized everywhere he goes. Finally, he stumbles on the house of a kindly bishop. The bishop treats Valjean with kindness, feeding him and allowing him to spend the night at his house. That night, Valjean is restless, still battling the anger and bitterness in his heart. He leaves the house that night, stealing all the bishop's fine silver utensils. The next day, soldiers come to the bishop's house with Valjean in tow. They have found the silver, and are ready to throw him in jail. But the bishop greets Valjean with gladness and insists that he freely gave him the silver. The soldiers release their trembling prisoner and leave. Valjean, in disbelief, accepts the gift of the silver from the bishop. He cannot understand why this man would tell a lie to save someone like himself. His answer comes when the kindly bishop announces, "Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to the evil, but to good. I have bought your soul for you. I withdrew it from black thoughts and the spirit of hate, and gave it to God." And Jean Valjean leaves the bishop's house a changed man changed by a man who treated him with favour. Jesus said, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you." Dear Jesus, help me to give as you have given to me. Amen.
DEVOTIONAL
Presbyter  an Church Clogherney
Give Freely Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." (Luke 6.38 NRSV) One of the most successful musicals of the past decade has been Andrew Lloyd Webber's LES MISERABLES, based on the book of the same name by Victor Hugo. The main character of LES MISERABLES is Jean Valjean. Orphaned as a boy, Valjean reaches his teens only to take on the responsibility of caring for his widowed sister and her seven children. All his work couldn't pull his sister and her family out of poverty, and so one day a desperate Valjean steals a loaf of bread from a baker's shop, to keep the children from starving. He is soon arrested and thrown in jail, where his young heart becomes hardened with anger and hatred. After spending half his life in prison, Valjean is released to a world that doesn't want him. His criminal past causes him to be rejected and ostracized everywhere he goes. Finally, he stumbles on the house of a kindly bishop. The bishop treats Valjean with kindness, feeding him and allowing him to spend the night at his house. That night, Valjean is restless, still battling the anger and bitterness in his heart. He leaves the house that night, stealing all the bishop's fine silver utensils. The next day, soldiers come to the bishop's house with Valjean in tow. They have found the silver, and are ready to throw him in jail. But the bishop greets Valjean with gladness and insists that he freely gave him the silver. The soldiers release their trembling prisoner and leave. Valjean, in disbelief, accepts the gift of the silver from the bishop. He cannot understand why this man would tell a lie to save someone like himself. His answer comes when the kindly bishop announces, "Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to the evil, but to good. I have bought your soul for you. I withdrew it from black thoughts and the spirit of hate, and gave it to God." And Jean Valjean leaves the bishop's house a changed man changed by a man who treated him with favour. Jesus said, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you." Dear Jesus, help me to give as you have given to me. Amen.