Thursday, July 11, 2024

Guff

I had hoped to wrap up some Jude thoughts but unfortunately a 'flesh is weak' episode has grounded me this last week and pain has somewhat befogged my mind.  Last Thursday early morning I asked our surgery (by email) for help about my painful left knee.  Called in for a face-to-face appointment (a golden chance) I was told it was probably osteoarthritis etc. etc. Walking back to the central Cambridge car park with some effort, I crossed a road only for my left leg to lose power and catapult me into railings by the pavement.  The knee had decided enough was enough.

With an heroic struggle (!) I drove home prepared to lose the rest of the day in emergency care in hospital. Which is exactly what happened.  As I retold the story 7 times to a stream of enquirers I explained there was no fall, no sudden twisting, no apparent cause. The knee just gave way.   Xrays followed as did the ill-fitting of a very uncomfortable splint. Paracetamol is supposed to give relief. Supposed to. 

Today the damage was diagnosed as anterior dislocation of the knee requiring several weeks of healing and physio.  The latter is scheduled for 'sometime' in the future. 

I know some kind friends are praying for me - how I value your care.  I'll try to fit in finishing off Jude shortly having worked hard on that last sermon.  I want a post with some meat in it, not just personal guff. Sorry, this was personal guff.  Is that a word...guff?

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Tough humility

I admit my last post on FAMILY was loosely hung on the text.  That's true of my second point too! When Jude describes himself as a Jesus' slave and a brother of James he does not appear to be pumped up with self-importance. I don’t want to push the evidence of one phrase but it seems that Jude is saying it really doesn’t matter who I am.  Whether he was a truly humble person or not, his self-introduction gives opportunity to sound out one of the most difficult challenges of Christian behaviour: HUMILITY 

That’s a staggering attitude for human beings to take. In humility consider others better than yourself. Each of us should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others (Phil 4:3). As Message  puts it: Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.  THINK ABOUT YOURSELF IN THE SAME WAY JESUS DID. Of course ego is important. You need to know you have a purpose, you're not a wall flower. Yes, you are loved and special to |God but in God's sight you are not more special than others.  He makes you count more than ever before but never more than any other of his family. 

Honestly, we do tend to place ourselves in a ranking with some people more important above us and plenty of people who aren’t as important below us.  Wrong. So wrong. In humility consider others better than yourself   What a powerful contrasting way for Christians to live together Those with prime gifts are not more significant in the body of Christ than others.  

John Wesley set a high bar when he warned: Oh beware! Do not seek to be something! Let me be nothing and Christ be all in all.  A friend sent a message this week:  He wrote: 'I think this is true'. And underneath he copied a T.S. Eliot quote:  Most of the trouble in this world is cause by people wanting to be important.  I think that's true too. How many rampant egos have destroyed relationships and organizations? 

A story is told in the early church when Emperor Domitian ordered that any remaining physical members of Jesus' family should be rounded up. He wanted no future centre for rebellion  They found Jude's grandsons, arrested them and brought them to court only to find that they were such ordinary people - hardworking, unimportant peasants. They dismissed them as totally harmless and of no consequence.  It’s true that our local churches must appear to comprise such ordinary people who can be dismissed as harmless.  But when people live like Jesus in humility, counting others better than themselves, they are living a revolution which Scripture calls 'new creation'. And that cannot be dismissed, can it?