Thought for the Week - 6th July 

 

“Unbe-lieeve-able!”

Victor Meldrew was a fictional character in the 1990s BBC sitcom ‘One Foot in the Grave.’ Victor was your stereotypical grumpy old man. Modern life presented him not just with challenges – but with reasons to grumble and complain.
“I don’t believe it” Victor would grumble as he collected the post.
“Unbe-lieeve-able” he would shout to the latest cold caller.

Sitcom characters are deliberately exaggerated to make us laugh. But what if there’s more of the fictional Victor Meldrew in us than we would perhaps care to admit?

This season has given us plenty to grumble about. Queues outside shops. Delays getting calls or emails answered. People walking too close to us.

“Unbe-lieeve-able!”

Do we ever stop and think what do others see when they see us?

Or more importantly, who do others see when they see us?

The Apostle Paul describes followers of Jesus as ‘Christ’s ambassadors.’

Our images of ambassadors might be taken more from James Bond movies than reality. Evening parties. Nice cars. Glamour and excitement.
The reality may be somewhat less glamourous. The role of an ambassador is to represent their sovereign in a foreign land.

How are you and I representing the interests of our sovereign in this land?

When people see us, do they see a grumbling would be Victor Meldrew? Or do they see a representative of the king of kings?

As Christ’s ambassadors we have a message for our nation at this time.

In 1 John 5 we read: And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his son.

This is an important message from the king to the people of this land. And it is our role to pass it on. Why?

John continues: He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

The message we have from our king is a life-giving message.

In the week ahead we’ll be given lots of opportunities to pass this message on.

Shop queues will form.

“I don’t believe it!”

Children will test our patience.

“Unbe-lieeve-able!”

Computers will do odd things and people will let us down.

“In the name of sanity!”

We will encounter lots of people. But who will they encounter when they meet us?

So, polish your shoes. Comb your locked down locks and stand straight and tall. You are an ambassador for the king of kings. May God bless you in your role as his ambassador in the week ahead.

 

Keith Wilson, 06/07/2020

Thought for the Week - 29/6/2020 

Home Town Blues

Imagine being away from home for a time. Given recent events, this may require some imagination. While you have been away, things have changed. Wherever you go, crowds now follow you.

Why all this excitement?

You have made sick people well. You have driven out demons. People are describing you in incredible ways.

“The Messiah”

“The Son of God”

You feel alive. This is what you were sent to do. Immediately before your return home you do something incredible. Something that marks you out as following in the line of Elijah. In the end it will define you.

From death you bring life.

To make a sick girl well is incredible. To make a dead, sick daughter alive and well is both incredible and miraculous. Who was this Jesus?

Mark picks up the story and writes:

“Jesus left there and went to his hometown…”

Have you got a place you call home?

In the 1980s there was a TV sitcom called ‘Cheers’ set in a bar in Boston. The catchphrase and theme song emphasised this was a place ‘where everybody knows your name.’

Nazareth was a place where everybody knows your name. It was Jesus’ home.

“Isn’t this the carpenter?”

“Isn’t this Mary’s son?”

“Isn’t this the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon?”

“Aren’t his sisters here with us?”

They thought they knew Jesus.

“And they took offence at him.”

Elsewhere people were amazed at what Jesus did. Here Jesus is amazed by their lack of faith. Those who thought they knew Jesus, hardly knew him at all.

How well do we think we know Jesus?

This week, can we try to get to know Jesus again? This may mean laying aside some of our previously formed views in order to read the Gospel stories with a fresh sense of wonder, excitement and even shock.

It is nice to have a place called home. It is lovely to think there are some places left where everybody knows our name. But when it comes to Jesus, let’s make sure it really is Jesus who we think we know.

Keith Wilson, 29/06/2020

Thought for the Week - 22/6/2020


The Jesus Manifesto 

“To preach good news to the poor.
to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed”
 
These words might be slogans for a demonstrator. Or parts of speech from a march. Actually, these are some of the words Jesus used to begin his public ministry.
 
Jesus was unlike any religious leader that there had ever been. No, let me correct that. Jesus was unlike any leader. Full stop.
 
With these words Jesus challenged the way things were done. People had believed God was for the good and the respectable. If you did the right things and said the correct words God would accept you. Hopefully.
 
Jesus took a different approach. God’s son proclaimed that God was on the side of the poor and the oppressed.
 
From now on the kingdom of heaven would be filled with people from every background and every nation. The invite to the kingdom was to go to everyone.
 
Followers of Jesus have made many mistakes throughout history. Jesus’ followers may often miss the mark. But Jesus hit it right on target.
 
Injustice. Racism. Oppression. Anything that prevents or denies a human the right to full life.
 
They have no place in the kingdom.
 
At times it is difficult to know what to do with Jesus’ words. His original hearers nodded with approval and said something along the lines of ‘Lovely message, young fellow.’
 
Which did not appear to impress Jesus. So, he drove the point home further. Until the people were furious. So mad was the crowd that they dragged him from the meeting out of town and to the top of a hill.
 
Not your typical ending to a Sunday church service.
 
Somehow, we have lost that radical message. Our Jesus is too tame to make people upset or mad. Jesus ‘lite’ is what we offer. He loves everyone and never upsets the powers that be.
 
Perhaps you are reading more books than usual at the moment. I am. Imagine your favourite book. You go around telling people about it. Only to make it acceptable you change bits. You make the character less edgy and controversial. The plot line is slowed down and tidied up. Some key parts are omitted. Soon it is a very different story you’re recounting to the one in the book. Only one day you are talking about this ‘book’ and it turns out the author is listening in. Awkward.
 
We would hate that to happen. To misrepresent the words of the author in the presence of the writer.
 
Perhaps this week we can commit ourselves to looking again at some of the words Jesus actually spoke. With so many great stories the best place to start is at the beginning. Have a safe a blessed week.
 
“The Spirit of the Lord is one me,
Because he has anointed me
To preach good news…”
Luke 4: 18-19

 

Keith Wilson, 22/06/2020