As a Church Community we continue to read through the Gospel of Luke – now with Chapter 12, followed by a few words from yours truly. This week I would encourage you to read the Gospel not only in the NIV translation (the translation we use for church on Sunday), but also The Message, (which although has been around for a good while is still contemporary) and I have always felt this translation of this chapter although being challenging is particularly… relevant. If you don’t have a copy, you can access this on the Bible Gateway (a free online resource- using the drop down box for translation).
Have you ever noticed the perfect image of life that advertisers try to sell us? Somehow the right toilet cleaner is linked to the perfect home; linked with the perfect smile. Somehow if we use that shampoo we will have hair full of body and bounce; or that torso which I have never had. When we consider these things, and perhaps the pressure which is so often present on the scene, it’s almost as if Jesus teachings were written for today.
You see the facts of life are that no matter how much money we have in our pockets, we will always want more. No matter what we own or purchase, any promise of happiness that the latest material purchase offers will be short lived. No matter how hard we strive for that next goal, perhaps that next promotion, or the next award, or that next prize, ; there will be someone else (usually younger and better looking who can do a better job). And even the most buff body will age, or the whitest bleached teeth will tarnish. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe Jesus was saying don’t look after our health, don’t work hard, don’t take a pride in our appearance, and don’t become the very best you can become. I do believe Jesus was protecting us form becoming overwhelmed by these things, and worrying about what we may or may not achieve, to the degree that our life becomes burdened by them. Jesus was trying to protect us from worry. Surely worry has got to be the greatest pandemic of our time.
The Gospel can liberate us from worry. Somehow by reflecting on the teachings of Jesus and by being open to the Holy Spirit, we can experience a sense of love and positive self -regard which attending to our Spiritual health brings. Through this, the material and appearance can become less dominant in our lives.
My prayer for all of us (including myself) is that we may live life to the very fullest ; being full of joy that can come from the Holy Spirit, so that when our needs are met, and we have kept the wolf from the door, we can relax and worry less about the material. My prayer is that we may see for ourselves our own inner beauty , and having done this see the inner beauty of those we travel this earth with,; so appearance and image becomes less important. River of Life MCC Dorchester, we are all beautiful.