This Week's Reflection

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This Week's Reflection

There’s lots of sport going on at the moment and if, like me, you find yourself watching it on TV or listening on the radio you notice when there’s a home crowd. Whether it be England at Wembley or one of the many GB players at Wimbledon, the home crowd really give a boost. When I watch Wimbledon in particular I find myself feeling sorry for those who are not playing at home and I wonder what impact it has on their playing when almost everyone is supporting the opposition! IN one story about Jesus we find him in front of his home crowd and you might think it’s a good place to be, but it’s not. We found this a few weeks ago when Jesus went home and his family tried to stop him doing what he wanted to do. This time it’s similar but it’s not his family but those who think they know him. Perhaps the people who saw him grow up or even grew up with him. “Who is he?” and I think it might be more of a “who does he think he is?!” question. The reply is simple: “We know who he is! He’s Mary’s lad and brother to many that we know in this town.” The impact is that he can’t do anything and he goes elsewhere. Even though they know about the extraordinary things he has done they cannot believe he is anything special. He’s just the local boy.

After this hard time Jesus gathers his closest followers together and sends them out to do the work he has been doing on his own, He tells them to take very few things with them and to depend on the hospitality of the people they meet on their travels. He also gives them a warning – in some places you won’t receive a good welcome. If that happens shake the dust off your feet and walk away. I imagine Jesus telling them this knowing full well how hard it is when people do not welcome you when all you want to do is good things. In the bible we also read of the ancient prophet Ezekiel (born about 600 years before Jesus): God told him that he would find people who would not listen to him for they were “stubborn and insolent” people!

Thinking about not welcoming the people who come in God’s name reminded me of the parable that Jesus tells about the sower, for there he says some seed falls on good ground but some does not. Some seeds take root and grow strong, others do not. But, he seems to be saying, sow the seeds anyway.

It’s not easy doing good things. It’s not easy sowing the seeds of God’s way, whether it be peace making or trying to help people get on better together or working for justice or standing up for those who are oppressed or speaking out about our climate crisis, there are times when those who do those things like this meet opposition, and it can be really hard. I think of Chris Whitty this week who has been physically attacked, and not for the first time it seems, for helping the country find a way through the pandemic. This week’s by-election in Batley and Spen has also reminded me of their MP before last, Jo Cox, who was murdered by someone who, more than likely, did not like the way she supported certain people in the constituency. Many of us know stories of people who have stood up for what they believe or spoken out about difficult issues and have been attacked for it. It seems Jesus and his first followers were also people who faced that.

But these stories and the story of Jesus reminds us not to give up. This is the way of God and although it is not easy, it is still the way. Jesus doesn’t say “if people don’t like what you say or what you do stop doing it.” He simply says “move on from that place and try elsewhere.” Just as he did when he didn’t get a good reception from his home crowd. This reminds me of the words that are attributed to Mother Teresa of Kolkata which form the picture this week.

To keep going when things are tough takes prayer and time to recharge. Time to sit with God and time to put down the work we are doing. Time to remember why it is important and time to find the support that can help us do it. Not that I feel like Jesus may well have done in the story today, but I’m taking some time off for the next couple of weeks to recharge my batteries and have a bit of space from my usual routines. So I’ll be back on July 25th. See you then.

Rev Anne Sardeson 1st July 2021