Sunday, 22 July 2012
Making a cold place warm
The subject was, of course, Mary Magdalene., and the general theme was about making judgements about people. Gossiping, name-calling, and generally coming to conclusions about others without any evidence other than our own perceptions.
He drew the analogy of Christ's acceptance of Mary, warts and all, trusting her and not pointing a finger at her, despite what was said of her by those around him.
A simple enough description of the way we, as Christians are supposed to behave to those in our communities who have very different histories from our own, and in some cases, whose reputations are tarnished.
Much is preached and talked about in the Christian church of love, and we are encouraged to try at least, to love our neighbours as ourselves. Not a selected few, not the ones most like us but all our neighbours.
Not an easy prospect for most people, and even those who are, so to speak, professionals in the church, from time to time have been known to 'smite with the sword' rather than offer a hand in peace.
Occasionally however, a spirit of true love, warmth, friendship can be felt, almost tangibly, and it is then that the spirit of the Lord truly moves in us, and informs our behaviour.
Suddenly the miserable isolated unhappy individuals in the group are drawn to the warmth of the flame and all judgement and criticism is suspended, even if only for a while.
Sometimes all it takes to make a bad-tempered, unfriendly person into a softer more open individual is as simple and small a thing as a listening ear.
It is all too easy to decide what kind of person A or B is from a single glance, or an overheard (often misheard) remark, or worse, from someone else's gossip, and so simple really to talk, ask an interested, not a nosy question, and watch someone suddenly lose their other two heads and become just one of the group.
Many marginalised people will not dare to enter the 'charmed circle' of an existing group, in church or elsewhere, and remain frozen on the fringes until some, enlightened member of that group looks with open eyes and mind and heart, takes their hand and invites them in to the warm.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 12:59:00 pm