Look after the people around you
‘Look after the people around you – be kind.’
These were the words spoken by the families of those killed in Nottingham this week. There was deep shock and profound trauma but there was no hatred or anger.
‘The Gospel’ is not always proclaimed in church – or by Christians, but the family’s response to the events of this last week do witness to the heart of God’s good news in Christ.
This Sunday’ Gospel story (Matt. 9.35 – 10.8) has those immortal lines of Jesus: ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers few. Therefore, ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out labourers into his harvest’.
There have been many wise commentaries written on this. St Augustine of Hippo spoke of the Jewish people as those to be harvested and the Gentiles as those who were being seeded – one to be reaped and one to be tended… and all to God’s glory. It’s clear in the story that the harvest is ‘his’ – and that it is suffering. The disciples are to go and bring them the good news of the Kingdom in and through acts of mercy.
Be encouraged that Christ’s call is still being heard and acted on – even if sometimes it isn’t ‘owned’ by those who claim him as their Lord and Saviour. For those of us who do, this should still be a cause of genuine encouragement.
We can be yet more encouraged as we see how Harbour Churches is answering Christ’s call. Only this week the new partnership bereavement initiative ‘Reach Out’ had its first very positive meeting in the St James Centre and drew folk from within the church family and wider community.
This Sunday (at 3pm) we gather as Harbour Churches to dedicate our annual REDLANDS Youth Camps. Harbour Churches is going out amongst the children and young people of our communities and being good news. On Wednesday, Bishop Ruth is ‘harvesting’ the faith of 52 children and adults at Chichester Cathedral in the Confirmation Service – 10 from Harbour Churches – BE ENCOURAGED.
In so many ways – and often in the most tragic of situations and through the most surprising people – ‘The Kingdom of heaven has come near’.
Peace and goodness
PS Mr and Mrs Blackbird have returned to the nest to start their second family…