by ben last modified 18 Jul, 2019 02:51 PM

The Rt Revd Dr Andrew Rumsey, Bishop of Ramsbury

It’s that time of year when schoolchildren everywhere begin to receive their end of term reports and the results of tests.

Reports and exams are such a constant part of childhood: until the age of 21, my progress was constantly tested and assessed. I knew precisely how good I was at certain subjects: where I really needed to try harder, where I fell completely short - and precisely where I stood in comparison to my friends.

As an adult it is far harder to know how we are progressing: in our professional lives, in our relationships, and indeed in our Christian faith. Hearing and reading God’s word in the Bible is perhaps the main way in which we consider how our lives measure up to Christian standards – it should perhaps give us that same blend of reassurance and discomfort!

The prophet Amos, speaking to a nation that remained politically and spiritually smug whilst oppressing the poor and ignoring the needy, portrays God with a plumb line in his hand, about to test whether they are true to his ways.

‘Flee away, you seer!’ is the response of the religious leadership, who – like us – find it almost impossible to hear accurate criticism.

What makes it possible is the grace of God in Christ, who both shows us how we ought to live, but crucially also bears the cost of our failure to do so - saving us from our sins and for a life of good works.

Whatever tests of life we are facing, and whatever the report, for or against us, may this grace encourage and empower us in God’s service.

+Andrew July 2019

Taken from our latest diocesan Grapevine. Visit the main page

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