Thought for the Week (29/03/2012)
Who says the Bible isn't relevant today?
The Revd Canon Ken Boyce provides our latest thought for reflection...
I've just had a wonderful illustration of scripture-in-action, and Bible truth being brought to life.
I was doing the little talk in the worship part of our Messy Church gathering. The theme had been The Lost Coin, which many of us remember from Sunday School days.
It's part of Jesus' teaching in St Luke's gospel chapter 15, and comes immediately after another memorable story of a shepherd who has lost one of his sheep.
To introduce the story of the coin I produced a purse of silver ten-pence pieces and offered to do a magic trick. The only problem was that when we opened the purse there were only nine coins (because I'd deliberately mislaid one of them), and I began to make a big thing about having lost one, hoping, of course that some of the children would help me look for it as in the gospel story.
I had a brush and pan ready and we lit a candle exactly as the woman in the Bible did as she searched for her missing coin.
However... what actually happened was that several people offered to give me one of their coins and one young boy came out and generously put eleven pence into my hand. I'd made a profit! And I'd lost the point of the story I was trying to re-enact, but discovered a tremendous instinct of generosity amongst everyone there.
This was no longer a demonstration of God's boundless love, searching and searching until he can gather all his children into his arms, especially the wayward ones. We were now demonstrating the love that responds with generosity every time there is a need.
It was as if I'd travelled from Luke 15 to Luke 10, from the parable of the Lost Coin to the Good Samaritan. In Luke 10: 29-37 help was offered to a man who'd got into trouble, and I was getting into trouble with that story.
In fact it felt as if we'd stepped into yet another gospel story. Seeing young James come forward with all the money he had in his pockets reminded us of the small boy in John chapter 6, who brought all the food he had - five loaves and two fishes - because the crowd was short of food. Because that small boy was generous and trusting, Jesus was able to magnify his gift so that no one went hungry.
By now in Messy Church it didn't much matter which story some of us were thinking of; it all demonstrated the truth of scripture.
In the space of ten minutes we had all seen a wonderful example of the way God can speak to us through scripture, through each other, through a situation of need, through humour, and in completely unexpected ways in spite of our best laid plans.
During the remainder of the season of Lent couldn't we all be more open to these quirky, off-the-wall, messages from God?
Reflect on the stories I've mentioned and remember that God will search us out however far we've travelled from him and bring us back because he loves us.
Revd Canon Ken Boyce is rector of St Martin's in the The Parish of St Martin with St Peter.
Photo by sufinawaz