Tag Archives: support

Bring It On

Here he comes,
the one who will change everything.

Here he comes,
riding to bring freedom,
triumphing over fear.

I cheered
and shouted,
waved whatever I could find
in anticipation
and excitement.

He’s coming,
how different everything will be now.

But it never occurred to me
that he might change me.

I thought it was ‘them’
that needed changing.
The powers,
the rulers,
those who held our lives
so tightly.

But it was me
who would be challenged:
my ways questioned,
my commitment.
what I really was shouting for.

Cheering,
shouting ‘bring it on’,
wanting this to happen.

If I’d realised,
would I have been so keen?
Thrown in my all?
Shouted for more?

More than excitement,
today is about challenge.

Where do I stand?
Who do I support?
Am I with Jesus –
all the way to suffering?

John 12:12-16 (CEV)

Jesus Enters Jerusalem

12 The next day a large crowd was in Jerusalem for Passover. When they heard that Jesus was coming for the festival, 13 they took palm branches and went out to greet him. They shouted,

“Hooray!
God bless the one who comes
    in the name of the Lord!
God bless the King
    of Israel!”

14 Jesus found a donkey and rode on it, just as the Scriptures say,

15 “People of Jerusalem,
    don’t be afraid!
Your King is now coming,
and he is riding
    on a donkey.”

16 At first, Jesus’ disciples did not understand. But after he had been given his glory, they remembered all this. Everything had happened exactly as the Scriptures said it would.

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Hard Work

Warnings against Laziness

My dear friends, in the name of the Lord Jesus, I beg you not to have anything to do with any of your people who loaf around and refuse to obey the instructions we gave you. You surely know that you should follow our example. We didn’t waste our time loafing, and we didn’t accept food from anyone without paying for it. We didn’t want to be a burden to any of you, so night and day we worked as hard as we could.

We had the right not to work, but we wanted to set an example for you. 10 We also gave you the rule that if you don’t work, you don’t eat. 11 Now we learn that some of you just loaf around and won’t do any work, except the work of a busybody. 12 So, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, we ask and beg these people to settle down and start working for a living. 13 Dear friends, you must never become tired of doing right.

Ah, you can’t beat a good warning about idleness, and a guilt-trip extraordinary on the good old Protestant Work Ethic, even before the days of Protestants! Work hard an everything will be ok…

“We didn’t waste our time”…

The problem is, that a perfectly sensible suggestion, can be taken and used to mean something it never did.  With an emphasis on hard work, where is the space for being, for listening, for watching and waiting?  What about those who cannot work?  We all need time in our lives for just loafing – not in idleness, but in restoration.

And the author is so proud that they took no food that they hadn’t worked or paid for.  Very noble, but what about the gift of allowing others to give to you?  And there are plenty around today who would advocate the “don’t work, don’t eat” policy (a quick search for data to back up poverty stats sadly soon shows that bias…) – but that is not a helpful one for those who can’t work, or even more for those who do work – and still can’t afford to eat.  The Truth and Lies about Poverty Report reminds us that as far back as 1753, John Wesley was saying,

So wickedly, devilishly false is that common objection, ‘They are poor, only because they are idle

Poor People – The Factual Facts from Applecart on Vimeo.

Right, having said all that, there is another point being made here, if we use the passage in its context and not try to make it say something it was never intended to.  This is written to those who were so convinced of The Second Coming and its imminent arrival, that they weren’t bothering to do anything else.  They were just sitting around waiting.  Too excited to do anything else, and nothing seemed relevant in that context.

So they are being told not to focus so much on God’s coming again, that they stop doing everything else.  There is still a life to be lived and a work to be done whilst they are waiting.

So too with us.  It would be lovely to spend time only in prayer and bible study, watching and waiting for God to come.  But while ever we live in the world, there are things to be done.  A living to be made, people to be helped, the ‘right thing’ to be done.  Being ‘busy about the Lord’s work’ is not an excuse to neglect our community and societal responsibilities.  We are called to live in and respond to the society we live in, we are charged with setting an example – and example of love, care and service.  So yes we need to work hard and not shirk our responsibilities – but in the context of supporting those who also work hard and can’t make ends meet and those who for whatever reason cannot work hard, or for whom just surviving is hard work enough.

Forgive me Lord,
the times I make judgements
about other people’s laziness
without knowing the truth of their lives.
May we
as a society
work together
in support of one another.

Forgive me Lord,
the times I have used
doing your work
as an excuse
to not keep my other responsibilities.
Help me to live faithfully
whilst waiting for you.

Reign in Me

You Never Know

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This passage brought to my mind this quote.  It is so true and something we often forget.  We know what is happening in our lives, and can get so caught up in it.  Sometimes we forget others may be struggling too, and how that may effect them.

2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12 (CEV)

From Paul, Silas, and Timothy.

To the church in Thessalonica, the people of God our Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!

When Christ Returns

My dear friends, we always have good reason to thank God for you, because your faith in God and your love for each other keep growing all the time. That’s why we brag about you to all of God’s churches. We tell them how patient you are and how you keep on having faith, even though you are going through a lot of trouble and suffering.

11 God chose you, and we keep praying that God will make you worthy of being his people. We pray for God’s power to help you do all the good things that you hope to do and that your faith makes you want to do. 12 Then, because God and our Lord Jesus Christ are so kind, you will bring honour to the name of our Lord Jesus, and he will bring honour to you.

These verses are quite personal ones – greetings, prayers, thanking God for them and encouragement.

The Thessalonians are going through trouble and suffering.  How many of us are familiar with that!  We all have struggles and difficulties.  Some of us would never dream of letting others know, some are more open – but the reality is that we rarely know the truth of what is going on in someone else’s life.

But the author (and there is some dispute over who that was – but personally, I don’t think that effects the message) wants them to know that they are being prayed for, and what an example they are in the way they are dealing with what is happening.

This makes me wonder how much we pray for our fellow Christians.  How much do we support them and encourage them?  How do we enable them to live with the realities of their life, whether we know what they are or not.

I find this expression of prayerful concern a challenge to me – to pray for others – not just those whose needs I know about, but others too – those whose troubles and stresses I know little of; to encourage them, let them know how much difference they make in my life – and to allow others to do the same for me.

Song: Can I Pray for You

Thank you Lord
for all those around me
who show me you,
those who are faithful
to you
and to me,
and show your love.

I bring to you
those with their struggles and troubles;
those I am aware of
and those I will never know;
those I hear
and those I miss;
those broadcast
and those hidden.
Lord
though I may never know
what others are carrying,
thank you
that you do.
May I be faithful in remembering.