Good morning! Welcome all and sundry (a special good morning to Sundry) to Friday’s Zeph@10 with John.
You can look at yesterday’s picture as you listen: https://soundcloud.com/johnfroud/08-look
The photo today is the stained glass window in Bethel Baptist Chapel, Macclesfield, dedicated to my grandfather, SHD Froud (known as Douglas), who died as minister there in 1950 (before I was born). He hadn’t been there long. Was it guilt that produced such an extravagant memorial? The church then called my dad, an unqualified local preacher, who was married with a daughter and working in an office in Stockport, to be the new minister. Mum’s parents were not pleased. “They killed him—they’ll kill you,” but he recognised the call, left his safe job and went. That’s why my birth certificate says “Macclesfield.” Dad, still a Reverend, died in Halifax at the age of 55 when I was 23 and teaching at Wycliffe. My little brother (qv Rev Andrew Froud, vicar of Clitheroe) was 10 at the time.
There’s a lot of bereavement about just now. Pray for those who are grieving.
.Luke 5: 12-14 Luke (the master of detail) takes all of three verses to tell a really important story about Jesus healing a leper. As you read it, you may have questions such as:
– How did the guy get “in one of the towns?” He was excluded from society because of his leprosy which “covered” him so he would be conspicuously unacceptable.
– What was the disciples’ reaction as they allowed him, an outsider to the outsiders and dangerous, to get so close to their boss?
But he has faith. “You can…” And Jesus touches him. He could have just pointed from a safe distance. Is Jesus making a point here? To get close and personal, in spite of the risk?
Prayers here for people you really don’t like – remembering that there’s no-one outside God’s love.
This is the section of Chapter 5 before the man through the roof story, where friends demonstrate the strength of their belief in Jesus’ ability to fix their friend. The section before that is where Jesus calls his disciples to leave everything and follow him. That’s the context. Jesus is saying early on in his ministry, “Follow me” and showing how that may mean dealing with people who are not always, “nice” or helpful, and sometimes you might wonder about their motivation, but as Julie was saying, and as Jesus demonstrates, there are no boundaries to God’s love.
More prayers here for people you really don’t like – remembering that there’s no-one outside God’s love!
When I was teaching I used to do an exercise with the kids where we would work out all the choices open to a character (historical or literary) Doing nothing is always an option. There may be a price to pay, but every option carries a consequence. Amazingly if we ignore God’s call, he still loves us. If we do a Peter and deny him, we are the worst for it, but he still loves us. If my dad hadn’t gone full tilt into ministry, God would still have loved him. If Jesus had taken the safe option with the leper, God would still have loved him. Even if we still don’t like those people, he still loves us.
Let that sink in. And thank him
Some years ago I had a series of phone conversations with a young lady who knew she was dying (cancer). She had been referred to me by my friend Danny (Fox). She was asking how to “access” (her word) this love of Jesus. “Are you saying I just have to believe? I don’t have to do anything ? I don’t need to get clean? I don’t have to put everything right ?
Pray for those who find the idea of God’s grace so hard to accept
The imperative is to believe in his ability to love us (whatever we think of ourselves) to look after us (whatever the mess we get ourselves into) and to fix us—for the present and for eternity.
So… go into whatever parts of God’s world you’re allowed this morning and spread a bit of his love…