MAKE TIME TO TAKE TIME
MAKE TIME TO TAKE TIME
One of my mates from around town called the other day wanting to catch up.
POPUP is an informal get together of people, who have faith communities, but sometimes like to to discuss, vent, encourage, be encouraged and heard in a different setting.
Today three of us spent one and a half hours drinking coffee/hot chocolate and discussing matters of faith and personal stuff.
We are quite different, rather than look for differences we share what we have in common and challenge and are challenged to think and rethink what we believe and why.
It is always good to listen and be heard, and to go away knowing we love and care for each other.
One person who is a regular, has recently moved back with partner and family after a time of separation,another is a single dad coping with all the stuff of life and who hangs out with ‘dangerous’ people, then there is me, who struggles to make sense of doubt and faith.
Together we travel this road we call ‘our faith journey’, and together discover the importance of life before death!!
It’s a mixed group, crazy group, and its sinners and saints together making sense of life
‘M’ came and sat next to me the other day on a Mall in Melbourne.
‘M’ was the first person I met as I started loitering and lurking just over a year ago, we met on March 20th, 2014.
I enquired as to his well being and he started sobbing, I put my arm around him as he told me why he was upset.
After a while we decided it would be good to eat, so I invited ‘M’ to choose where we would go.
Upon arriving we were met with some suspicion, and as soon as we placed out order we were asked to pay. I explained we may want more food and or drink and that I was paying and would do so at the end, ( as in normal practise).
I approached the owner of the cafe and asked if there were a problem or if ‘M’ had been before and gone without paying?it transpired he had so I offered to pay the whole $2.00 !! She politely refused and then proceeded to ‘warn me of giving any money to ‘M’!!
I returned to the table and asked ‘m’ if he owed the owner money, he did and knew it was $2.00, I gave him the money and he paid his debt in full!!
I so am blessed to get to hang out with crooks!!
Yes people its almost Easter!!
In the bigger scheme of things, where you have your morning coffee in not that important…..right?
Maybe not, but sometimes you have to listen to that ‘small still voice’.
Recently as i was riding into the city for my daily loitering activities, I had my mind made up where i would go first and get a long black!!
As I neared my destination, something, I call a ‘still small voice’ suggested an alternate venue.
I listened, and went to another cafe instead, had my coffee and you guessed it nothing happened, that is until I was skulking back to the bike, when out of nowhere a pair of arms came around me from behind and I got a bear hug.
It was a bloke I had met once, at the funeral for Les, which I wrote about last year.
We hugged and chatted for a time, which was good for the heart!!
We parted company a short time later, and I now listen more carefully to the ‘small still voice’, maybe just maybe its God and maybe I should listen.
PS Please don’t tell The Ruth, she says I never listen!!!!
This guy, nice guy, quite popular, he dies. All his friends are upset. He’s gone but never quite forgotten – not long later he makes a miraculous comeback. In church that’s the story of Lazarus, in politics it’s Kevin Rudd.
There is another story – these men, tired, from all the running are finally found in a field. Certain defeat looms before them, then their captain looks around and says, “Do nit be afraid. There are more with us than against us” as an army of loyal supports appears.
In the Bible that’s the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 6, in sport it’s Queensland taking the State Of Origin field in Brisbane last night.
Last one – a warning to the British and Irish Lions from the prophet Micah
“Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.”
Watch out for Kurtley Beale!
The hardest thing about following Jesus is loving the ones he loves.
We all have them, at work, at school, in our circle of extended acquaintances – those people we just can’t get on with. There is usually no real reason for it, just a sort of a ‘like’ block – you just don’t like them and they (usually) don’t like you. It’s no one’s fault, it’s not a result of a fight or argument, it’s what people call a ‘personality clash.’ You can still be polite but you just can’t bring yourself to like them.
But you’ve got to love them.
Racism is something I have never understood. I really can’t make out why the colour of your skin can make you more or less worthy, more or less a person. It’s something I just don’t get. Maybe it’s my upbringing (although in a small town in North Wales in the 70’s they weren’t many people who didn’t have my skin colour), maybe it’s the people I’ve met along the road, I don’t know but I just don’t understand the racist mind. I would go as far as to say I hate racism. I hate what racists stand for, what they believe, their narrow minded view of humanity. I want to hate the racists too.
But I’ve got to love them.
Pedophiles! To quote most of society – they are the scum of the earth. Especially the ones the trawl for and then train young children. The very thought abhors me. Our justice system cannot be too harsh on them – there is NO justification for what they do and I hate the thought of even one free to continue their evil ways.
But I’ve got to love them.
Westboro Baptist Church, The ACL and various other bigots. I hate what they stand for, I hate the fact they use the name of Jesus to justify all their very unChristlike behaviour. I hate that they have influenced the media so much that most people think that every Christian is just as bigoted and hate filled as they are. As institutions I loathe them – but the individuals that make up those institutions –
Well, I’ve got to love them.
By now you’re getting the idea I hope. It may be a difficult concept but you should be catching on –
Murderers – hate what they do – but I’ve got to love them
Wife beaters – hate what they do – but I’ve got to love them
Most politicians – as shallow as a dried up pond – but I’ve got to love them
Homophobes – all people are different, get over it – I’ve got to love them
English rugby fans – I don’t hate them but they are a bunch of misguided, self righteous, know it alls – but I’ve got to love them
I could make the list a very long one and after each category I would have to put – but I’ve got to love them.
This is what makes following Jesus so hard. It is not an easy option, it does not make you a soft person. It is one of the most difficult things imaginable – Jesus calls us to love the people that every fibre in our being is telling us to hate. Those that we consider the lowest of the low – there we are called to love. Those who hold the complete opposite views to us – we are called to love. Those who would use terrorism to wipe out what we believe in and stand for – we are called to love.
They are all children of God, they are all loved and valued by him. We may not see their worth but he does. If one person counts, then everybody counts!
It may be hard for us to understand and even harder for us to do but we are called to love everyone.
And loving them means we should try and show them what it means to be a follower of Christ – that they, who ever they are, have value and worth. That Christ died for them as much as for us and that they, too, can be accepted. We may not like what they stand for, or what they do but we should love them, selflessly, as Christ does.
Oh, following Christ is far harder than not following him. Jesus is not selective – he loves everyone.
Now I take strength in the fact that Jesus never said we have to like everyone, just love them. That I can try to do….