Are you the one?
A woman was searching for a birthday card for her husband. She saw one that read. “Darling, you’re the answer to my prayers.” Thinking this might just be the right one she opened it and read, “You’re not what I prayed for exactly, but apparently you’re the answer.” How true to life. We may pray for certain things and yet what we get may be quite different. Is that any different from our experience of parenting? We know in rearing our children that what they what and what they need are often two different things and that giving them what they want can sometimes be disastrous.
The Jewish people, John the Baptist included, expected a very different Messiah from the one they got. Some wanted a fierce warrior king who would expel the Romans and rule the people righteously with a strong hand. Others, John included, wanted a fierce judge who would smack everyone into line. All wanted the healing and liberation that Isaiah described. But nobody, nobody expected Jesus. He looked fairly, well, ordinary. He did not force people to follow him rather he lured them, he spoke to their hearts. What he wanted was not conformity to his rules but conversion to his way of loving. He calls, lures us today in the circumstances of life but don’t expect it to be ‘relaxed and comfortable’ rather he calls us into the fullness of life, and sometimes that takes a challenging path.
Loving Father, your desire is for us to come to fullness of life. Give us the wisdom of your Spirit to embrace all circumstances trusting that Jesus our brother is there helping us. We ask this in his name confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris,
The Gift of Difficult People
St John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, was a difficult person. He just didn’t fit it. Just as well he went off into the desert to live. But people were still drawn to him because he ‘told it to them straight’. The dregs of society loved him and were transformed. The leaders and religious people rejected him. Eventually he was murdered for doing what a prophet does best: challenging people into the ways of God.
Most of us do not have prophets on hand to challenge us into Gods ways but we have difficult people, or people who dearly love who can sometimes be difficult. Our natural response to difficult situations is ‘fight or flight’, to submit or to be aggressive. But God’s creative love wants more from us than either of those. These are the moments of grace whereby we are being called into being bigger people. This does not mean it will be easy. These ‘moments’ can last a long time and can take an awful toll on us. When we are in such situations we need to enter into ourselves and in our hearts ask for God’s guidance. We need to listen, to think, to take advice and then bring the wisdom of God’s strong love into our lives.
Loving God, you not only console u,s you also challenge us. Give us the wisdom of your Spirit that in the difficult situations of life we may love like Jesus, our brother. We ask this in his name, confident that you will hear us. Sr Kym Harris
St John the Baptist
Jesus had some strange relatives, or rather at least one of whom we know: his cousin, St John the Baptist. John was the only child of parents so elderly that his birth was regarded as a miracle. He must have been quite a handful. He went bush quite early, lived off the land in the desert and was fiercely religious. But that didn’t stop the people, high and low, flocking to hear him. He challenged them all. The despised – the prostitutes, the tax collectors (who were little more than legalised thieves) and the occupying soldiers – had their lives transformed by his preaching. But the influential people in society, religious and political, were too proud to listen with their hearts and ridiculed him. The king, when challenged for immorality, killed him. Living on the edge of society, John called things as they were. He was the one who recognised his ordinary looking cousin Jesus, as the Messiah.
We all have strange relatives, friends or acquaintances. Often we just dismiss their views on life because of their strangeness yet they still have something to teach us, even if we don’t agree with them. They give us a different perspective on life, challenging our easy assumptions. Even if we disagree with them working through why we disagree enriches us. So long as we are open and listen, God can teach us through them. Consider one of your strange relatives and ask yourself what can you learn from that person.
Loving God, you have made us all in your image and likeness and reveal some part of yourself in every person. Guided by Jesus and your Spirit, make me open to those people I would reject because of their strangeness. I ask this in Jesus’ name, confident that you will hear me.