Spirit & Life
The end of the Church Year in the RCL draws us to a time of reviewing the year that was, and anticipating what may yet to be, in both our Church and personal life.
What a beautiful, positive, and hope-filled call! Over and over again, throughout each generation, there will be times of sorrowing, fracture, societal upheaval, and significant loss. In the midst of pain, our hope through faith is found in two ways – individually and together.
Social Influencers are not a new phenomenon. Even Jesus outed ‘Influencers’ in his time, even the ‘teachers of the Law’. There are people who have a positive influence in our community, and people whose influence causes distress, hurt, and even long-lasting grief.
The community would have been so very familiar with this commandment that was recalled daily through spoken and ritual prayer. Its very simplicity reminds us of the depth held in actively living a prayer.
Can you imagine the noise and the crush as excited people tried to meet this megastar of his day? Ostracised and alone, sitting on the side of the road, how would Bartimaeus have known where Jesus was.
James and John’s sense of entitlement seems quite extraordinary. They may have listened to Jesus’ teachings, but not ‘heard’ the truth deep in their souls. They slipped into the patterning of their familiar Honour/Shame, hierarchical society, where ‘position’ denotes power and status, and is sought at every opportunity.
“I am much happier having enough than too much. It would so easily distract me from following Jesus”, the pastor reflected. We sat at the edge of the poor village, looking towards to the sea.
“That would be Kofi Annan!” my 8 year old responded, when being asked who they saw as influential leaders. “The (former) Secretary-General of the United Nations.
James is reminding a community to keep on God’s pathway. A good life is reflected in good deeds performed with humility and wisdom.
We are a word driven society. What we say and do has instant impact to those around. Social Media has made this influence even greater.