Presbyterian, Methodist, Church of Christ

Greymouth Uniting Church

Hugs
© Brittany Randolph, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Covered in compassion : Led by hope

Readings: Exodus 12: 1-14, Psalm 149, Romans 13: 8-14, Matthew 18: 15-20.

Com·pas·sion [kuhm-pash-uhn]
noun: fellow feeling; to suffer with; and often including the desire to alleviate.

Passover/Pesach - is the festival celebrated by Jewish people as the Season of Our Freedom. It's a Spring festival so appropriately timed for us this year. More often associated with Christian Easter.

Jewish thinking is/was that God saved them from their slavery in Egypt because of four things:

  • they kept their Jewish names
  • learned Hebrew
  • were all friends, and
  • retained their customs
    -> Had their sense of identity as God's people

Tensions:
Assimilation Distinctiveness
Like me Other
Inclusiveness    Acceptance of Diversity

They followed the instructions as given, observed the passover sacrifice; ate roasted lamb in their homes; with bitter herbs and unleavened bread; dressed for travel - sticks in hand, cloaks belted up, and sandles on feet.

Has evolved to include spring cleaning of house and participation in Pesach services.

Paul is saying a similar thing to us:

  • be ready to act
  • be aware and attentive to God and your spiritual life
  • be care-full of yourself, so you can be with others

Compassion

And Jesus gives us some tools for keeping things in order when they have been disrupted. Remember LV Martin & Son - an early mail order company in NZ - 'It's the putting right that counts'.

In this day and age when it is so easy to do and say things from afar - by messaging or posting or emails - Jesus' instruction to meet face-to-face; in private; is a timely reminder that this is still the compassionate way to deal with things. People are people; are human; Jesus knew people and the way he offers of 'putting things right' is still applicable. The hope held in a way of reconciliation; of meeting together when pain is present; of talking through in a process with God present in it.

Hope

Hope
© Alexandra Hunter
Who knew that hope is both the anchor and the sail?

What might our world look like if we modelled good reconciling?

What experiences have you had? And what difference has it made to your life?

We all know family stories of bitter division that sometimes have only been healed in later generations.

In our family it has added a richness of connection and restored a sense of identity that was missing, a homecoming.

What if this was the good news, the hope that we could offer to the world?

But hold on — it is!

Just as Jesus was telling us a way of making things right between each other as people, he was also telling us and living out a life connected with God and with God's world. A way of 'making right' and 'coming home'.