What a mixed day. A cold start to the morning with ice to be scraped off car windows and resultant numb fingers to match the head which has become infected by the dreaded lurgy!
Can't understand how we can eschew the Patriarch, Prophets, John the Baptist, Mary journey that is Advent for the wishywashy Love, Hope, Joy, Peace stuff. Surely we need to reflect on things biblical rather than Hallmark card moments? Jesus isn't looking to merely make us 'happy', He's looking to make us disciples, and that don't look,like the world or find favour with them church members. We need to keep them happy in case they walk? Nah, we need to get them saved lest they burn!
Today's readings were sublime as Jesus is linked to Jesse (and therefore David) and made obvious that he is the hope and salvation that was to come (in Isaiah's time). Paul popped up in Romans and looked at the Prophets too and pointed out that the Messiah was for all: Jew and Gentile! How I long for Church that embraces and proclaims this without that little supremacist edge so often found!
John the Baptist popped in and asked just who we were: Could it be that we are the people with hearts of stone and have become a brood of vipers such that we replace the Sadducees and Pharisees of old?
Complaints abound, people niggled about stuff (justly and unjustly). Usual moans about getting older, getting smaller, getting this, that and the other. Have we trials and ???? - take them to the Lord in prayer, or better still, pray, get your finger out and do something about it.
Feeling slightly ???? as people complain about the stuff I didn't do as it I was the one who had to do it in the first place and they had no responsibility or part to play themselves. Wonder if Jesus ever looked up to heaven and asked, "Why do they keep looking at me? Can't they do it themselves?" If they can see the need then they can surely also see the solution?
There are days when rather than walk in the hope that the sheep will follow, the attraction of getting behind them and kicking is so great. Give me the grace I lack and the stick I need! Is that a valid prayer?
It feels like the failure of others ends up at my door, sometimes very literally, and the ability to smile and be compliant is wonderful but just occasionally I'd like a table to turn over! We play our little Christian games and abuse people in the knowledge that we have to be forgiven - but that's not forgiveness, it merely the speaking of the word 'peace' when quite obviously there isn't any peace and very little integrity either :-(
The danger of putting on a show for the faithful, of tickling their ears with the spoken and playing to their demands with the new songs and the clamouring for 'bleeding edge' stuff when what is needed is for them to 'bleeding grow up' is immense.
What would Jesus do?
What should Vic do to make Jesus look like Jesus in himself and those he seeks to pastor, work with and work for is the question!
I'd love for a world where we 'tell it in love' rather than hide it in hypocrisy and faux love. My bloke took it to the cross to make his love real to reconcile me to God - sacrifice or superficiality - that is the question and the choice it seems.
Lord, give me clarity of vision, integrity in living, honesty in conversation and love in all I am and do. Amen.