Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Bent Over

In Luke 13:10-17 we have Luke's record of how Jesus healed a crippled woman.  Jesus was teaching in the synagogue when he noticed this particular woman who had been suffering for 18 years.  He felt that she shouldn't suffer a moment longer, and so he healed.  The only problem was that it was the Sabbath and this action contravened Sabbath rules - with the result that he incurred the wrath of the leader of the synagogue.  Why could it not wait until Sunday?

I feel sure that this synagogue leader was a good and kind man.  He was most probably an ordinary bloke - perhaps a fisherman or a carpenter or a cobbler - chosen for this position of leadership because he was respected in the community.  We can't believe his reaction - but he would be stunned by our view of him and utterly surprised to know that he is being held up as an example of religious hypocrisy some two thousand years later.

....   which all leads me to wonder:
What are the rules that get in the way of our doing what we should?
Who are the bent over people who we have ignored for too long?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


There's a range of things that the world needs and wants.  It includes kindness, compassion, peace, justice, patience and so much more.  Sometimes I think that what is most needed is forgiveness.  Forgive us our sins, for we forgive everyone who does us wrong (Luke 11:4).  However, it is worth thinking what forgiveness really is.

With his former role as Chair of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Desmond Tutu is perhaps better qualified than most to comment - "Forgiveness doesn't mean pretending things aren't as they really are.  Forgiveness is a recognition that there is a ghastliness that has happened.  Forgiveness doesn't mean trying to paper over the cracks.  Forgiveness means that both the wronged and the culprits of those wrongs acknowledge that something happened.  There is necessarily a measure of confrontation.  People sometimes think that you shouldn't be abrasive.  But sometimes you have to be to make people acknowledge that they have done something wrong" - "God Is Not a Christian" (Rider, 2011), p. 38.

Forgiveness isn't about making things nice.  But it is about getting on with things as they are.

Monday, 26 August 2013


Desmond Tutu writes about the African concept of "ubuntu" in "God Is Not a Christian"(Rider, 2011).  Ubuntu is a concept of sharing and caring,  A bit like the Hebrew word "shalom", most often translated as peace, it is not easily translated into English.  It is a call to community that certainly fits with a Christian perspective.

Tutu writes: "I have gifts that you don't have, and you have gifts that I don't have.  We are different in order to know our need of each other.  To be human is to be dependent.  Ubuntu speaks of spiritual attributes such as generosity, hospitality, compassion, caring, sharing.  You could be affluent in material possessions but still be without ubuntu.  This concept speaks of how people are more important than things, than profits, than material possessions.  It speaks about the intrinsic worth of persons as not dependent on extraneous things such as status, race, creed, gender, or achievement" (p. 22).

There's a lot to think about there and, for most of us, a lot to learn.