St Mary Magdalene † St Bartholomew † St Alban †
Sunday 23rd January 2011
‘FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS’
I noticed the other week that there is a new pawnbrokers’ shop in High Street North.
I have a particular interest in these things, because over a century ago,
in the 1880s, my great grandfather made his living as manager of a pawnbrokers’ in the High Street here.
I once went into one of the more long-established of the present shops
to see whether they had any records that went back that long, but sadly they hadn’t.
And that was the only time that I have been into a pawnbrokers’.
Lucky me! I’ve never been so short of money, so lacking in credit,
that the only way to get my hands on some much-needed cash is to pawn something valuable that I own.
But the opening of the new shop tells me that more and more people are in that situation
– and, useful though it may be to get the ready cash,
the likelihood is that anyone who does put something into pawn is going
to end up with bigger and bigger debts.
So many of Jesus’ stories are about money and about debt.
He knew how desperate the need for money could make people –and how being in debt could destroy lives.
Pray the Lord’s Prayeras a Scot,
and you would say ‘forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors’.
Those for whom debt is the biggest problem are often those who have least:
let us remember them as we pray that prayer,
but let’s also ask also why that is the pattern,
and whether there is anything we could or should do to change it.