The Parish of Sandal Magna

1st world problems?


I once rebuked three young people who had just walked through our garden, and the reply came back: "1st world problem." He was right. Sometimes we get upset by completely trivial things. In the light of what others are going through in the world, we should complain less and count our blessings more. I also needed not to react in a predictable way, but act in a way that was different, by maybe offering them a cup of tea; that’s what Vicars do isn't it?

Jesus taught his disciples about a world that was very different to ours. He called it the Kingdom, the place where God rules, rather than where we do. In this world everything is topsy-turvy: "The first shall be last and the last first"; "Turn the other cheek"; "Love your enemies”; “Bless and do not criticise”. This way of life, most beautifully expressed in the Sermon on the Mount, is a generous way of living, as Jesus said: "You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."

As followers of Christ we have a new identity, shaped by self-giving and joy, not selfishness and discontent. It comes as no surprise when we often find people in the 2/3rds world living in a far more generous and joyful way. The challenge of Jesus is for us to realise that those who are poor, meek, weak, caring, hungry, and helpless in the world’s eyes are immeasurable blessed because they belong to a kingdom where a loving and compassionate God lives and rules, on earth as in heaven. As we begin a new year, may our resolution be to "live generously and graciously toward others".

Rupert




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