Trust in God to see us through – Eastertide Reflection 31
By Stephen Gardiner
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Luke 6:27 – 38
Today’s reading is one that’s difficult to read and its message difficult to hear. It spells out the ideal that we as followers of Jesus should be practising. Essentially, to be willing to give away everything we have, to lend without expecting return, doing good to those who hate you, pray for those who abuse you and even give more to those who steal from you. In short, it goes against every ounce of being human. But we, as followers of Jesus, are called to be more than mere base humans. And, how often I, and probably you, fail and need forgiveness.
Another part of the reading speaks about judging and condemning. That’s something we are meant to restrain from. This is where forgiveness comes in. Once forgiven, there is no judgement and therefore no condemnation. But our world is full of people only to willing to judge and condemn others. It was brought home to me quite strongly some months ago when in a school classroom a pupil was acting up, not aggressively, just in a sulky somewhat belligerent way. I commented to the teacher about the behaviour and the response was that the pupil did not have a very good home life. It would have been easy to judge, whereas it was much better to try to understand, correct and forgive.
Of course, the blame game regarding Covid-19 began a few weeks ago with the USA blaming China and so on. What I think we must realise is that we’re all responsible. However, those with greater responsibility and authority are the ones who need to look at what they are doing and address or correct their behaviour and attitudes. Maybe that sounds a lot like passing judgement, but I don’t believe it is. Its much the same as the pupil in the class. As followers of Jesus we are called to offer such observations.
What I believe is that God created this incredible planet that we live on. If you’ve watched Brian Cox, the physicist, when he did a series on the planets you will have seen that the odds of Earth forming as it did and life developing the way it did are enormous. Therefore by God’s grace all the parameters required to have a planet with an environment to allow life to begin and develop to where it has today were put in place. As part of that creation, humankind were given dominion over it. That means we are responsible for it; for its continued development and its stewardship. In short what happens on the planet is pretty much down to us, whether its good or bad.
The good news is that God never leaves us to flounder for too long. The tools, insights, and so on, are given to work through problems and to continue developing. Therefore, maybe we can see God at work through the work of those who seek vaccines and treatments. Even now, as most people will have heard, there is a vaccine undergoing trials. The measures that have been taken in countries across the world are slowing down the spread of the virus and there is cautious optimism. The question ‘am I my brother’s keeper’ has never been more important, as the answer is a profound ‘YES’! We must all be careful how we interact with others.
Isn’t it wonderful to see the acts of stoicism, kindness, thoughtfulness and charity that have abounded throughout this unprecedented period. The front-line workers in all spheres from the NHS and care homes; to food producers, transporters and sellers; the refuse collectors and postal staff and the many more in all walks of life. Let us continue to trust in God to see us through this most difficult of times and continue to pray for all those who continue working especially those who find themselves in contact with those who are known to be infected. And also let us remember those who have died as a result of this infection and their families.
Despite our best efforts to destroy ourselves, our environment and our planet – God loves each and everyone of us and hears those who call upon the name of Jesus Christ.