Summary: A true faith is the key to the heart of scouting

DC – 23-04-06

A talk at a scouting service in Dymchurch 2006

The founder of the scouting movement Lord Robert Baden Powell believed that a religious faith was important for his scouts

"When asked where religion came into Scouting and Guiding, Baden- Powell replied,

“It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting and

Guiding." (Religion and the Boy Scout and Girl Guides Movement-- an address, 1926).

He went on to say this about scouting:

"… we have no military aim or practice in our movement; but (rather)…the ideals of service for their fellow-men. In other words, we aim for the practice of Christianity in their everyday life and dealings, and not merely the profession of its theology on Sundays....

"No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws. So every Scout should have a religion....Religion seems a very simple thing: First: Love and serve God. Second: Love

and serve your neighbour." (Scouting for Boys)

He went on to say

"Development of outlook naturally begins with a respect for God, which we may best term "Reverence. Reverence to God and reverence for one’s neighbour and reverence for oneself as a servant of God, is the basis of every form of religion. (Aids to Scoutmastership, 1919)

Baden Powell was described as ’the inspired mystic of Scouting’, because of his growing tendency to represent Scouting as a form of religion.

"Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity," he wrote in the introduction to a pamphlet entitled Scouting and Christianity in 1917.

Baden-Powell quoted Carlyle approvingly when Carlyle said: ’The religion of a man is not the creed he professes but his life -- what he acts upon, and knows of life, and his duty in it. “

Jesus, in our reading earlier taught us that God has called each one of us to a life of reverence firstly for God and then our neighbour.

Many people think that Jesus invented these two commandments but he didn’t.

You can find them in the Old Testament.

The first is found in the book of Deuteronomy

“Hear O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deut 6: 4- 5)

and the second is found in our first reading from the book of Leviticus

“ Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord your God.” (Lev. 19:18)

Jesus’ genius was in linking the two commandments together.

Let me finish with a story of my own

Story: When I was living in Switzerland, I was involved in running a church among the refuges there.

Each Saturday, we would go into the camp and invite them to our Sunday morning service.

And on Sunday we would drive over and take those who wanted to come -to church.

We used to have more Muslims than Christians in our service.

One Sunday, a young Muslim Mustapha stood up.

He had spent a lot of time with my other co-leaders Dan and Catrin.

He came to the front and this is what he, in essence, said:

“I have become a Christian, because you showed me love. In Islam, there is no love.”

Let me encourage you to find that love that is the real mark of a Christian – the love that gives without wanting in return.

The love Jesus exhibited when he died on the Cross for us.

Then you will find the true heart of scouting!


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