FRIDAY 19 JUNE 2020
Good morning friends,
One of my favourite television programmes is The Vicar of Dibley, it is so funny and sometimes some of the story lines were really close to home.
If you watched the series, you will probably remember one Christmas episode when Geraldine was invited to four Christmas dinners. Not wanting to offend those who had invited her, she agreed to go.
The first and second were fine in terms of eating, but by the time the third came she was feeling rather full, and after the fourth, which included a Brussels sprout eating competition, she collapsed and had to be taken home in the shovel of a tractor.
It reminded me of a time I had been invited by a retired minister and his wife for lunch after the service one Sunday.
I duly arrived at the appointed time and was ushered into the sitting room for an aperitif.
Soon lunch was served, a large bowl of scotch broth and crusty bread which was delicious.
I had seconds, and then, after a wee while, said my thanks for the lovely lunch and made to get up.
“Oh no, my dear,” said the woman, “there’s more.”
She proceeded to bring in a bowl of mashed potatoes, another of cabbage, and placed a plate in front of me which had two large lamb chops, which must have been “rare” for the blood from them was oozing out onto the plate. Not only that, the fat round the edges was glistening.
As a confirmed vegetarian my stomach flipped, but as I did not want to cause any offense or appear ungrateful,I ploughed my way through the meat, not chewing, just swallowing as quickly as I could.
I definitely wanted to leave after that but was prevailed upon to have a bowl of trifle............
I was absolutely stuffed, and was able to decline coffee and mints and make my getaway.
Needless to say, I did not need to eat for the rest of that day and well into the following one.
You might wonder why I did not say anything at the time, but I just couldn’t, for the couple had gone to a great deal of bother to show kindness to me. It was also a reminder that sometimes in ministry we can be taken unawares, and how we deal with such times is important.
There were occasions when Jesus was invited to meals, sometimes with friends, sometimes with people he’d just met.
Once at a meal something unexpected happened when Jesus was at the home of Simon the Leper. You can find this account at Mark 14 1-9.
"Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, a man who had suffered from a dreaded skin disease. While Jesus was eating, a woman came in with an alabaster jar full of a very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus' head. Some of the people there became angry and said to one another, “What was the use of wasting the perfume? It could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins] and the money given to the poor!” And they criticized her harshly.
But Jesus said, “Leave her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has done a fine and beautiful thing for me. You will always have poor people with you, and any time you want to, you can help them. But you will not always have me. She did what she could; she poured perfume on my body to prepare it ahead of time for burial. Now, I assure you that wherever the gospel is preached all over the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
How gracious Jesus was towards this woman.
He recognised her desire to do something lovely for him, to show him a kindness that day and he accepted her gift.
Jesus was always ready to embrace the unexpected, ready to bless and heal, to forgive and restore, as he walked the dusty roads, as he shared a meal, even as he hung on the cross, promising paradise today to a thief hanging alongside him.
True hospitality given and received
Every day there are opportunities to do something beautiful for the Lord, and be ready to receive the unexpected blessings he wants to pour into our lives.
May you know these blessed moments today.
Every day there are opportunites to do something beautiul for the Lord, and be ready to recieve the unexpected blessings he wants to pour into our lives.
May you know these blessed moments today.