What does it mean to persevere? The dictionary says it is to ‘continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no indication of success’. What do we need to persevere at? It might be learning a new skill or doing our best at school or doing things that we don’t particularly like to help someone else.
We have all had to persevere through much of this year doing what we are asked by our leaders to contain the virus. It has been difficult and sometimes it seems we are not succeeding but we are asked to persevere for the good of everyone. Progress is being made and the scientists are working very hard to find a way for us to live in a more usual way again.
The Collective Worship Team have looked this week at the disagreement between Jeremiah and King Jehoiakim. The story in the Bible is told in two parts in Jeremiah 26 and 36. In the story Jeremiah perseveres to tell the message God had given him to all of the people. The King doesn’t take criticism very well. The chapters in Jeremiah are quite long so you will need to persevere to read it all!
Whatever happened to him or to his scroll, Jeremiah found a way to get God’s message to the people. He knew that they needed to hear the message and that God wanted him to write it down and to tell the people. He wasn’t allowed in the Temple so he had to find other ways to tell them that God wanted them to come back to him and he would forgive them because he loved them. We also need to hear the message so it is included in the Bible.
- What does it tell us about how God wants us to live?
- How else do we hear God’s word and what he wants us to do?
- How have we had to adapt what we do as disciples this year?
All of us choose to persevere with things that are important to us. You will need some equipment and other people to help you to play this game (board and cards). If you can’t print out the game or you haven’t got other people to play with, choose something that you will need to be patient with and keep going at – perhaps a jigsaw, a puzzle, a model with lots of instructions or some complicated painting or colouring. You might still want to read the cards to find out what would make you move forward or back on the game.
St Paul talks about the importance of perseverance for our faith:
"…we glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
The King in the story didn’t cope very well with Jeremiah reminding him that he and the people he ruled over were not living in the way God wanted. He reacted very badly to the criticism. We have to be very careful of how we react to people who disagree with us. We can get upset, get angry, or ignore those people and avoid being around them. These can be aggressive reactions but we need to try to be assertive rather than aggressive.
Sometimes we learn more about ourselves and what we believe when we debate with those who have a different opinion but we need to stay calm if we are to really listen to them and discuss properly. These are some ideas of how to turn aggressive reactions into assertive ones.
We pray for people around the world this week:
Lord, our God,
We pray for all people struggling with the restrictions on life this year. Help us to persevere so that we can protect each other. Help the leaders of our country and other countries to work together for the good of the whole world.
"A man (person) who refuses to admit his (her) mistakes can never be successful."
Alison and Angie