Very much in my mind currently is the way that, at this time of the year, following Trinity Sunday, our gospel readings change from the momentous events in Jesus’ life – Advent, through Christmas, Epiphany, then soon into Lent, Easter, Pentecost. Theologically Trinity then tries to summarise who we feel that God is.
One of the creeds includes ‘born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate’, and given how soon after Epiphany we find ourselves in Lent, it might be wondered who this Jesus was.
But now, apart from Harvest, we move into the other half of the year, hearing of Jesus’ teaching, healing, caring. Initially he taught in synagogues and mixed with the religious people, but after the life-threatening time in Nazareth, we hear of Jesus out and about reaching out to the most unlikely people both in Israel and even across the Lake or up North. There, a quick-witted woman, when Jesus seemed reluctant to help her, by remarking that it wasn’t right to give the children’s food to the dogs, replied that ‘even the dogs eat the crumbs under the table’. Immediately her daughter, wherever the child was, was healed.
Thereafter, Jesus mixed with all sorts of people, many excluded from religious contact – lepers, Samaritans, women, foreigners, even touching dead bodies and including among his disciples four probably illiterate fishermen and the despised Matthew, who worked as a tax collector for the hated Romans. We now have several months of hearing these familiar stories, but what can we learn from them?
One very important fact is that Jesus lived out the vital times of worship which sustained him, by caring, helping those round him to understand by telling stories, comparing spiritual life with ordinary every day things.
My prayer is that all of us will express our commitment to God, not just in our churches but daily, among the people around us, responding to need – because, as a hymn writer expressed it – we are ‘God’s human angels’.
Agents or Angels?
Through the power of the Spirit,
the resurrection ‘body’ of Jesus
is eternally alive in our world,
active in his name
in so many ways,
through so many people.
As his followers,
we remember his teaching
that – ‘Whatever you do
even for the least of people
in my name,
is as if done for me’.
Christ’s agents –
or are we his ‘human angels’,
responding to his call?
‘He is breaking down the barriers, he is casting up the way; He is calling for his angels to build up the gates of day: But his angels her are human, not the shining hosts above; for the drum-beats of his army are the heartbeats of our love’.
Henry Burton (1840 – 1930) Public domain.
This meditation comes from Ros Murphy’s second book, “More Glimpses of God”. If you are interested in purchasing a copy for £8 (£10 with postage) please contact Caroline Wickens.