7th July

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Use every opportunity you have, because these are evil days. Ephesians 5:16

We should never delude ourselves that the Christian way is all roses. There is much that is bad and ugly in the world, and there is no guarantee that Christians will not become victims of it. We can, however, learn to discover God in the ugliest of situations, and to use evil days as an opportunity for good.

Not long after Mungo’s consecration as a bishop an ugly crowd, headed by Morcant, arrived. ‘Your royal friend Rhydderch,’ he crowed, ‘has sailed away into exile, and now I am king of Strathclyde.’ Riding with him was a young man, a distant relative of Mungo, who was decidedly unfriendly. He lashed out with his stirruped foot and kicked Mungo in the chest, knocking him down. ‘You bastard bishop.’ he shouted as he rode away.

The writing was on the wall. It seems that Mungo set out to join David in Wales, so that a new mission might move north from a sound base in the south. But in order to get to Wales, he had to go on a difficult journey.

As Mungo and his companions trudged through the dales they found, not only a different, craggy landscape, but a hostile population. They reached the headquarters of the Christian Prince Urien, who conducted his government in exile near Penrith. The Prince was the most statesmanlike of the Christian leaders of that generation. They discussed the sad situation of the region. Perhaps Mungo had intended to pass quickly through on his way to Wales, but when he realised the swift growth of pagan influence in the mountain areas he turned aside, and with God helping him, won many from strange beliefs. As he journeyed from well to well, crowds gathered. Some jeered, but others were healed and some accepted Christ. The Christian Faith revived. At Crosthwaite, in 533, a crowd worshipped God as a large cross was erected opposite a pagan stronghold.

So once again we see that, in an ugly situation, God can bring good out of the bad.

Lord,
Help me to face the things
That are ugly in our situation today.
Show me how you want to bring good out of the bad.

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