Have you noticed that some things happen while you’re doing something else? A competitor creeps up on you and takes a bite out of your market share; your IT system is now no longer adequate for your needs; your website is out of date; a grey hair has appeared; your margins have become very tight; the children you teach are into something new or your clients are becoming more demanding; your job is being shipped to India or at least some of your colleagues’ jobs are…… somebody asks you for spiritual help – where did that come from? You find yourself talking at a deep level with someone whom you had no idea was really interested in faith. If you had to guess you would say they were at least hostile if not completely anti-, but here they are asking your opinion and wanting to know what you think.
If you wind back the clock you will realise that these conversations do happen for a reason. If you’ve never had one, then the observations here may increase the chances for you. Of course you would welcome such a moment, it’s just that it’s rather unexpected.
But as the clock rewinds it reveals that you have been trying to treat people honourably even if they have been less than straight with you; you have not held grudges nor sought revenge when others may have done so; you have faced pressure and even though inside you have struggled, you have tried to remain focussed and reliable. In your heart you have prayed when you have failed and you want to get it right even when you know you haven’t.
And while you have been trying to survive and work as well as your limited but honest vision has allowed, others have been watching. The contrast between your behaviour and that of others has not gone unnoticed. So what appears to be out of the blue is in fact out of observation. You should not be surprised – the sinner next to you will watch and then ask. The person in pain on the cross next to Jesus noticed the difference in the behaviour of the Nazarene under pressure. A person chained to the next desk will notice how the followers of the Nazarene go about their Father’s business, and questions will follow…. And you thought you were doing something else.
25Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
1After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: 2″Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began
Luke 11: 1-4
1One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2He said to them, “When you pray, say: ” ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3Give us each day our daily bread. 4Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation
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