When to be a shining pebble…

I am picking up on the thread of Jonathan’s last comment on the ‘Are we doing enough to protect our freedom?’ blog, because I thought it was worth a new blog thread.

Jonathan – Thanks for your thought-provoking comment and the beautiful image of the shining pebble. I suppose the key thing, as you say, is whether we are attuned to be ready to hear when we are in a situation where God is calling us to do something special or different or particular, and if we can discern what it is that we are being called to. I guess in some circumstances that may be something dramatic and life-changing or even life-threatening, as with the example of the Syrian person you refer to. And then it must be extraordinarily difficult to decide between the claims of doing something brave and principled and standing up against oppression and the claims of protecting your loved ones from harm and danger. I find that one of the hardest teachings of Jesus that I find difficult to accept is the one about how following him can involve setting family members against each other and can bring division. I guess I just hope that I am never put in a position where that happens.

But in other circumstances I think the call may be less clear and the situation less extreme, and I suppose it may be less obvious that we are being called to make some decision or to follow some course.

I am interested in what Jesus’s approach was to those that followed him but who went back to their ordinary lives after their encounter with him. For example Zacchaeus the tax collector, who entertained Jesus to a meal and promised to change his ways. Did he manage to do so? Did he become one of the early Christians after Jesus’s death and resurrection or did he carry on being a faithful Jew?

I suppose that what I am thinking is that most of the time our lives are ordinary and routine and somewhat unremarkable and that we are not called to make life-changing or life-threatening decisions on a daily basis (thank goodness), but we still need to find the calling of God in the everyday and humdrum, and to respond as best we can….

2 thoughts on “When to be a shining pebble…

  1. Hi Roger,Thanks for your remarks, it is a pity that my original text doesn’t appear on the same blog as it makes for difficulty in understanding us both.The original remarks were directed towards a lenten theme of reflection upon the 7 sayings of Christ on the Cross.One of these is “today you shall be with me in Paradise”.This used to be a traditional theme for Good Friday and I think I am correct in saying the other words are:”Father forgive them for they know not what they do””My God My God why hast thou forsaken me””Woman behold thy son, behold thy Mother””I thirst””It is finished””Father into thy hands I commend my Spirit”That isn’t the right order and some early versions exclude the prayer for forgiveness. But the contemplation of these powerful statements is very relevant to each of us, today.My original comment sought the link between Paul’s words from Hebrews 10 v 16 “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their mindswill I write them” and Christ’s words “Today you shall be with me in Paradise”For light relief I feel a quiz coming on! can anyone tell me where the Pauline words come from in the Old Testament? Can anyone put the sayings in the correct order?The issue I was raising is the strange way in which a criminal at first confesses and then acknowledges Christ’s Lordship and Deity . We know nothing of this man save these few words, which have echoed down 2,000 years of faith.He isn’t exactly a paragon of virtue but he puts his trust in Christ, he recognises Christ as God’s Son and stands apart from the crowd who are jeering him at that time, according to Luke.This spectacular decision and outpouring of honest faith is rewarded, and there is no review or trial of his past.I was asking if we are either necessarily aware of the impact of our actions, but that we are called to be alert to the leadings of the Spirit, at the point where this man of his own free will acknowledges Christ and stands apart from the crowd filled with faith.When do we stop watching wrong actions, hearing wrong thinking, watching injustice and stand apart from the crowd alone in faith before Christ?Do we as a Church give time or other resources to the poor and homeless? we have a good kitchen do we use it to supply a balanced diet to the needy?How should we stand apart today? The second quiz would be which saying should we think about next? how about “Father into thy hands I commend my Spirit”?Jonathan


  2. Mene, Mene, Tekel u-PharsinThis is now commonly understood as the “writing on the wall”. I happened to notice something the other day that I felt ought to be shared. We all too easily look about us and fail to see the things that are happening or how people are feeling.I saw a piece of graffitti in the town that is enigmatic as a warning or threat, and is a reflection upon the underlying state of people’s minds.I am not able to say which of these were intended, but nevertheless all of them could be implied by these simple words hand written on a wall just off North Street.I interpret this as a reflection upon the rising level of fear and alienation within the society in which we find ourselves. I see it also as a reflection upon the increasing gap between the wealthy and the poor. I see it as a reaction to poverty and austerity. Perhaps it is an early sign that we ought not to be complacent and that people urgently now need to see the practical workings of God’s love for each of them.”the end is coming buy guns”This is the phrase that someone felt they wished to write.It may have been a joke or an attempt at ridicule, but I feel it is a strange topic about which to raise a smile.Any thoughts?


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