WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
The BBC programme of the same name usually focuses on a well-known celebrity, researches their genealogy inevitably uncovering a surprising or titillating fact, hopefully, to make an interesting hour’s entertainment.
In the first Chapter of St Matthew’s Gospel we can read a long dry list of the names of 42 generations preceding Jesus. Some of the names are difficult to pronounce and nothing titillating worthy of comment. Randomly selecting some names from the Authorised or King James translation, we learn “Phares begat Esrom and Esrom begat Aram” (v.3) and so on with many more ‘begats’! There is not much to know about these and the other names in that long list. It is their anonymity which is important to the essential links in the chain stretching from Abraham to the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Did any of them ever realise their significance?
Our modern world puts much emphasis on cult figures and celebrities, though they are often ‘here today and gone tomorrow’ people. It’s those who make the greatest contribution to things which matter most, like creative living and unselfish loving, who are often anonymous.
Christianity certainly, and other religions equally, have every reason to be grateful for their good unknown disciples. Later this month the Ickenham Churches will again be organising Holiday Club (see page 7). Through reports in this publication, the leaders’ names, and probably faces will be known, but spare thoughts and gratitude for the small army of unknown disciples, essential links in the chain, who form the supporting preparation and clearing up team, and will have made the whole project possible.
A thought and prayer for living from Saint Ignatius of Loyola:
Teach us good,Lord
To serve you as you deserve,
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest,
To labour and not to ask for any reward,
Save that of knowing that we do your will. Amen
Bryan Webb, URC Elder
TAKE TIME TO STAND AND STARE
“A poor life this is if, full of care; We have no time to stand and stare.” (William Henry Davis)
Is it really nearly the end of another school year? They seem to come round so quickly! What happens to time? It seems to speed up as we get older. But do you remember how slowly the clock hands crawled round, the day before a special treat when you were small? So what changes to make time seemingly speed up as we get older? We all know that time is constant, so it must be we who change - we who over-fill our lives and don’t leave enough time “to stand and stare” as children seem able to do.
Perhaps that’s why Jesus stopped his disciples from turning the children away when they were brought to him. He wanted them to realise how important children were, and are to Him. He wanted us to see that, as children, we get it right. Children are not slaves to worldly tasks and time. He said, “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” (Luke 18:15-17)
As adults, we can’t “stand and stare” all the time! I think Jesus meant us to keep our lives balanced. It’s not easy. I try to make time for my work, family, church, friends, voluntary jobs, leisure etc., but I often forget to allow some quiet time; when I can relax, and “stand and stare” at the beauty of creation; to feel warmth of the sun or the power of the wind, to sit by a stream and listen to the birds. It is then that I make time for God too; when I stop long enough to be aware of His presence!
Jesus wants us to stop sometimes - to spend a few moments savouring the good things around us; to just enjoy His love for us, and maybe share our difficulties. He wants us to keep Him at the centre of our lives so that we can benefit from His help and love. So, as exam anxieties recede and summer holidays approach, take a little time relaxing with God. It’s not hard; it just takes a few moments to stand and stare.
Anne Whitlam, St. Giles’ Lay Minister
Fun Run, Robin Hood, Choirs, Dignitaries, Gardens