It’s Summer again!
They say it’s a sign of getting old, when you can’t seem to remember the passage of time. Is it me, or has July come around again so quickly? Let’s hope it brings some good weather for our holidays!
I was reminded of a time when my children were taking exams for English Literature. They showed me some of the poems and novels they had to study and the parts they had to memorise so to be able to quote them in the exams. It gave me a headache just looking at all the words and wondering how so much could be taken in.
I remember saying to them how I wasn’t a fan of poetry but actually, that isn’t true. In my book shelf I do have some books of poetry. One of the poets is a man named Steve Turner. Here are a couple of his poems:
You were hungry
and I was sorry.
You were thirsty
and I blamed the world.
You were a stranger
and I pointed you out.
You were naked
and I turned you in.
You were sick
and I said a prayer.
you were in prison
And I wrote a poem.
The God Letters.
The Lord says, ‘Share your bread with the hungry, bring the homeless poor to your house, cover the naked.’ Dear God, we have got new carpets, so this will not be possible.
Taken from ‘Poems’ by Steve Turner
Both poems seem to be inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:31-46, where he speaks of how God will judge people. It shouldn’t surprise us that it is those who see the plight of the needy and then act to alleviate it who find favour with God. Whilst of course it is those who don’t who are condemned. I remember preaching on this and asking the question: how would God judge me if I were there? So often we will agree with the sentiment of passages like Matthew 25, but are guilty of reacting more like the sentiment of the poems. It isn’t easy trying to live a ‘Christian’ lifestyle in our society. Often we are not sure what a ‘Christian’ lifestyle actually involves.
Read the Gospels and you will always find Jesus challenging us all to examine how we live and treat each other and to follow his example and teaching. Why? Well The former Bishop of Durham ~ Tom Wright ~ puts it this way: because that is how it will be in God’s kingdom!
When Jesus returns he will bring his judgment and his kingdom and it is there that there will be none of the pain, suffering and sin that we experience so much now. It will all be gone. As Christians, we have the opportunity and privilege, of bringing that world ever nearer as we seek to see God’s will done here on earth as in heaven. The good that we do now, the love that we show, the lives that we help transform, are never lost. They become the ‘building blocks’ if you like, that God will use to transform this world. Living for Jesus here and now, is a preparation for the world that is to come. But not only that. You will know when you do go that extra mile and help someone who is in need, the joy that it can bring ~ like a glimpse of what is to come.
I hope that many of you do find the time to have a break this summer, to enjoy some time with family and friends. I do wish you all a peaceful and fulfilling time. Do use this time to think afresh on the words of Jesus. Take them to heart and seek ways in which you can live for Christ in our world.