Begging for bread

(Image by Couleur from Pixabay)

It was only a small part of the sentence, but it hit me like an express train! 

Yes, the story may only have been a few verses in length yet, it contained so many emotions.  There was hurt, frustration and rejection.  Mark, in his Gospel, says that the Pharisees came to question and test Jesus.

There are times, as a Minister, when you meet people who are, let’s say, a little challenging!  Perhaps you have encountered them too.  They are the ones who have “on a mission” written all over their face. They are the sort that you have to “fix the smile” as they test, question and examine you as they speak.

I wonder, if Jesus did the same? 

Did He fix the smile? 

Did His heart turn somersaults too? 

Did He think “why don’t you ever listen?  Haven’t you got it yet?”

Mark gives us a clue as to what Jesus felt in that small part of the sentence;

He sighed deeply in his Spirit (Mark 8 vs. 12 – NRSV)

The problem with testing is that we expect a right or wrong answer.  That is what the Pharisees were looking for. I think our society has conditioned us to the same type of thinking.

Right or Wrong

Pass or Fail

Righteous or sinner

Sound or unsound

I think Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit because, the Pharisees could quote chapter and verse of the rule book but, what they had not grasped was, the intention behind the rule book.  Much less did they understand the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom is not about right or wrong.  Who is in and who is out.  The Kingdom is about The Grace of God reaching out to all humanity in its mess, chaos and brokenness. 

Each of us is a work in progress, therefore, we cannot fail we just need a little more work.

I came across this image, which really spoke to me of what God’s kingdom is about. 

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

There are many authors who, the original of this quotation is attributed too, but as I spent some time reflecting on Mark 8 today, I wrote these words

Christianity is one beggar telling another where to find bread

The Kingdom comes

when this beggar takes the bread he has found and shares it with another

A Breath From God

I couldn’t resist it.  This photo was one I took this morning.

This is the second day of snow.  As I sat in our back room, and was preparing to do some work, I saw these two faces.

In case you are wondering who, or what they are, there is no mystery!  They are two of our garden ornaments.  As winter began, we put them up on a table to prevent any wind damage over the course of the coming season.  Instead of damage, however, the wind has caused the snow to be blown off the faces and caused them to emerge from their snow bound captivity.

As I returned to the warmth of the house, I turned to my morning passage and read;

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

(Genesis 1 vs. 1 – 2 – NRSV)

Those words “while a wind from God…” do not appear in every version but, I liked the image it brought to mind.  I thought of the wind in a creative, playful, imaginative way.  That wind, blown by God, causing this amazing planet with all its variety and beauty to emerge. 

It really spoke into my heart. 

But something else stirred within me too.  I think there are times when all of us need a wind from God to blow through our lives. Sometimes that wind is needed to blow away the cobwebs of our thinking and dull religiosity.

Sometimes that wind is needed to blow away the rubbish that accumulates in our Souls, like the dead leaves on an autumn tree.

Sometimes, that wind is needed so that we are stirred up and shaken.  The type of wind that rattles the fences of our self-security. 

Sometimes, a gentle breeze is needed.  The sort that, on a hot and stifling day, causes the air to move and brings with it refreshing and restoration. 

There are times that, like the scene in our garden today, we need the wind that can be creative and causes something, once covered over, to emerge.

Amazing God you who blew the wind at creation. Blow through my life.

Blow away the dead leaves Refresh the air around me And rattle the fences of my self-security.

Amazing God, you who blew the wind at creation. Blow through my life.

Let your work of creation And re-creation Happen in me

And may, what emerges, Bring glory and honour to you