The Wisdom of Strangers – 17th Sunday after Trinity, 2022
As the author, Aldous Huxley once said “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted”.
And if that is true of our everyday lives how much more true it is of our spiritual lives? For we can all get caught up in the routine, the familiarity of it all, the expected.
In today’s gospel by using the example of Jesus’ encounter with the faithful ‘outsider’, Luke is powerfully warning the Jewish people of his time, but also us and anyone who cares to listen, of the danger of taking some of the most important blessings of our lives for granted. Do we truly see and hear what is around and within us? Are we willing to learn from the one who is different?
It has become a cliche to say that Advent is a time of preparation, especially as we so often seem to prepare for the expected rather than the unexpected. But what does it even mean to prepare? Are we being invited to make temporary and external arrangements, are the changes to be practical, visible but extrinsic? Is this to be but a brief hiatus before we return, once more, to ’normal’? Or are we being invited on a journey of transformation that is essentially intrinsic, perhaps even private and invisible to others, but which for us helps to uncover and discover our true selves, the true ‘us’ inside. Isn’t that what Jesus meant when he called us to life ‘in all its fullness’?
Due to illness – this week we have a short video meditation.
For the festival of Christ the King, this poem entitled ’The Kingdom’ was written by R.S. Thomas 1913-2000.
Today we make an act of commemoration but not celebration; we hold in our prayers those who have died and suffered in two world wars, in countless regional conflicts since, and in peace-keeping duties across the world. We mourn their loss and their suffering; the failure of politics and diplomacy that led to their sacrifice on the altar of human pride, obstinacy and indifference, and we also confess the darkness in our own hearts that all too often gives way to anger and seeks retribution. We pray that humanity may, before it is too late, consign war to the sins of history, and instead walk the ways of conciliation and peace.