Exminster Methodist Church
Exminster Methodist Church, Main Road, Exminster EX6 8BT
Email exminstermethodists@yahoo.co.uk, Minister: Rev Ben Haslam, Telephone (01392) 256716

Monthly Message from Rev Ben Haslam

In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet is given some advice by an older character, Polonius: “To thine own self be true”. It sounds like very modern advice, this idea of being ‘true to yourself’, of doing what feels right to you regardless of any other considerations. Personally, I’m not really sure what ‘being true’ to yourself actually means. Does it mean doing whatever you feel like? Does it mean following your own values at all costs?

The nature of truth is a hot topic in this day and age. We’ve heard much in recent years about ‘fake news’, of clashes of values between generations, and of people going on telly to talk about ‘their truth’. I won’t mention names…. Pontius Pilate famously asked Jesus the question: “What is truth?” as have many philosophers and writers down the ages. I think we can all agree that truth isn’t something we can manipulate to suit our own purposes, though it seems that many people do just that. Truth is also about much more than just feelings, in that we can react strongly against something without that being an indication that it is untrue. Our feelings can be a highly unreliable guide to truth, and sometimes we rely on them too much. We might even have to overcome our feelings to reach the truth sometimes.

What Jesus has to say about truth is powerful and hopeful. “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (John 8.32). He means the truth about Himself, that He is God, and therefore the key to all truth. What’s more, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14.6). Some people take exception to this. How can Jesus be so arrogant as to make such a claim for Himself? Or else they try to water down the words, as if what Jesus really meant to say was, ‘I am a way, a truth and a life’. But He didn’t and we can’t get round that. There has been no convincing way of ‘reinterpreting’ Jesus’ words, though those who find them offensive have tried. Instead, why don’t we celebrate them? Here is God Incarnate, maker and sustainer of all of creation, revealing Himself to us, and inviting us to share His life? Here is God, revealing the truth about Himself, that He is our loving Father and love is His very essence. If Jesus is The Truth, then Jesus is our gateway to how things really are and our faith in Him is the lens through which we are called to see life. This truth is something which can transform us: we are set free from false versions of how to be human beings so that we are free to become who God wants us to become. Something to celebrate indeed.

God bless, Ben