Back from a week away. A mini heat-wave in Turkey happened. Our UK referendum on Europe happened. Football and the Euro Championships happened (and still are). Lazing on the beach happened. And something else.
The importance of words. The value of words. Of how we “hear them” and how we “repeat them”. Of how – in this “instant world” we inhabit, this world of technology and connection through social media, news outlets, the internet and global television complete with pictures and experts, our instant “googling” for an instant answer to any question under the sun …
Of how we hear “instantly” – of how we react “instantly”. And of how we move on “instantly”.
“Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. A scribe then approached and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”” Matthew 8:18-22
So what about these words (direct from the internet) this morning? What is the “takeaway” … the “message” … the “elevator sell” … the word I need right now … ?
??? ??? ???
Last week we saw at first-hand the power of words without love (and perspective): we saw very few people.
There are very few people because the media has used words of terrorism, death, bombings, ISIS, random killings, and Turkey (they are Muslims after all). Which means that their country is dangerous and to be avoided. We know this. We got it from the internet and tv – and then each other. We heard. We knew. We repeated. And now we all know: Don’t go to Turkey – you will probably be killed.
And as we walked the strip we saw lots of very bored waiting staff. Although prohibited from “hassling”, they are pushing the boundaries out of desperation. Because they are one third through the six month season – and they expect many businesses not to be there (when we go back in September) – and they don’t know if it will be their business.
Just as church is not “the building”, neither are businesses “the building”.
Businesses employ people. People who have family. People with children. People who have bills. People with hope. People with hearts. People who are “people” – just like us. People with words – just like us. And I found that there are two words that – when you are up close and personal – might as well be one: “Inshallah” and “God-willing”. Because when you share words with people (just like us) – together – over a week … those two words morph into one.
Because in this instant world we hear the word “Inshallah” as enemy – just as we hear “God-willing” as friends. Just as we can read today’s verses and hear “sacrifice and deprivation” – our instant response – our immediate “take-away”. Just as we would miss so much if we do …
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
I believe in you. I like what I hear. I need you to know you have changed me. I need you to know how much you have changed me hearing your instant words in this instant now. I need you to appreciate me!
“Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
What he said above – all of that! Just a few details I need to take care of first. Doesn’t change how much I have been changed. Just got to explain things. Sort things. Tidy the important stuff so I don’t lose it – keep my rep for looking good – and then I am yours.
These “disciples” (not!!) are the same as you and me if we spend some time together. Spending time together is undervalued. And just as we came back wondering who would/would not be around in three months’ time – this morning I find more words rattling around my head …
The Good Samaritan (and all us Good Passers By – who pass by stuff that might make us “unsafe”). The Sowing of Seeds (and our weird need to “save others” not like us – even if they are). And that word … “Inshallah” … and how we so often use it to divide them and us.
Because when you continue to take that apart … it might be that we ALSO do that with “God-willing”. Except we would never use the “Word of God” to divide …