Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God.” …
“Truly I tell you there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age – houses, brother and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first”…. Mark 10: 24, 30 – 31
“The world wants the wealth to live in state,
But you show us a new way to be great:
Like a servant you came,
And if we do the same,
We’ll be turning the world upside down.”
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
African proverb used by the Dalai Lama
Heavenly Father, how often have we read this passage in Mark but missed out registering two key words “with persecutions”. So we focus on the success-driven spiritual life. But why should we expect our lives, the followers of Jesus, to be anything different from his earthly life?
This week has shown the horrific examples of 11 Christians near Aleppo in Syria, including a 12 year old boy, who all chose not to escape or deny You. The profoundly deluded ISIL who show little understanding of their alleged faith of Islam publicly torturing, raping, beheading and even crucifying the men, women and young boy. Yet even despite this so many people including Moslems want to know about Jesus…
Lord, have mercy….. Christ, have mercy
We give thanks for the Moslem baker in Maiduguri, Nigeria the former stronghold of Boko Haram, who has found homes and work for over 300 widows, children and relatives of other bakers killed by Boko Haram. Like so many beneath the radar of our news services, others in Kos, Greece care for the washed up refugees who reach their island shores or help bury the dead of those who lost their lives trying to escape violence and poverty in their homelands.
We give thanks too for Tu Youyou, the first Chinese woman to win a Nobel Prize for her work in helping to create an anti-malaria medicine. She has achieved this despite having nomedical degree, PhD or having worked overseas but only attended a Beijing pharmacology school.
Lord, bless and protect them…. Christ, bless and protect them
Again so many in positions of political and economic power seek to stifle voices who dare to think or speak differently, often propping up their own position at the expense of those already on the margins. We give thanks for the courage of people like Svetlana Alexievich from Belarus this year’s Nobel laureate for literature, who consistently has given voice to the voiceless over the last 30 years and shredded Soviet myth and propaganda
Throughout the world the continuing fight issuing from fear of those who are “different”, whether in faith, culture, gender, sexuality or appearance. We pray for peace and reconciliation and a celebration of the difference facets you saw fit to create as images of Yourself. Yet we make our image of you far too small and made in our likeness.
Lord, bless the peacemakers and have mercy and transform us so we transform the world starting from where we are..….. Christ, bless the peacemakers have mercy and transform us so we transform the world starting from where we are. AMEN.