I have a confession to make. On Wednesday evening I should have been at my practice for Jigs and Reels. I had a moral dilemma and unfortunately I proved to be too weak. All evening I had been weighing my options up in my mind, should I go to the Irish Dancing practice or would I sit in the house and watch Liverpool playing Manchester City in the semi final of the League Cup.
Liverpool hasn’t been in a final for six years so it was a moment of significance for any football supporter. I made excuses; I was tired after a busy two weeks and I really didn’t have the energy. This was the excuse I text when enquires were made concerning my whereabouts as I sat on the sofa glued to the match. As Man City scored in only their two proper attacks not to mention their goalkeeper’s heroics I consigned myself to the inevitable defeat. Part of me thought, it served me right for abandoning the practice and letting my dance partner down. Mind you I let her down every time I try to dance, maybe I was being considerate, by not appearing I was saving her feet and her sanity.
As Man City took the lead for the second time it was all becoming too much and I began to feel guilty for sitting in the house. As I was feeling sorry for myself the door bell rang and I thought, great that’s all I need. Two friends had landed and as I opened the door I accessed the situation. One didn’t mind watching football and the other wasn’t one bit interested because he had the attention span of a goldfish. Reluctantly I realised there could be a problem as I invited them into the living room. As I rejoined the match I now had mixed emotions, I had missed a goal but at least Liverpool had equalised. Yet with ten minutes remaining it was becoming all too must to watch. In fact the tension was unbearable and that was just between the three of us in the room trying to decide what to watch as we negotiated a compromise. In the end it was decided we would watch the football because it was my living room and my TV.
I could barely look at the television as the cloak ran down towards ninety minutes. In the end I resorted to flicking between two football matches such were my nerves not to say fear. It took me back to my childhood when I used to be scared of the Incredible Hulk and hid behind the sofa. It’s just as well Liverpool won.
In life we are faced with making many decisions and choices, sometimes we find these straightforward and easy, on other occasions then can be complicated and difficult. Often because of our weaknesses and limitations we make the wrong choices, on occasions this may have been deliberately more often had not it is due to human frailty.
The consequences whether foreseen or not can haunt all of us throughout our lives. These are the demons that hold us prisoner, the past which refuses to allow us to live with freedom. Instead we prefer to hide in the darkness because it is easier that way, we don’t have to confront our life story, and instead we live in fear and isolation.
Yet Jesus came and taught with authority, he preached the word of God wishing to set people free from their bonds and chains. This is a gift and a responsibility, to live as sons and daughters of God requires responding to the person of Jesus and his message. Only in the Son of God can we find true peace and healing.
Christ came to bring a message of hope; God does not want us to die in our sins. God doesn’t want us to remain imprisoned in the failures of the past. His healing presence will set us free to live as children of God. The mission for all Christians concerns the challenge of being witnesses to God’s kingdom.
In as much as we believe in Jesus Christ and our lives are shaped according to his message we will help and lead one another towards God. God calls us as his people, he takes the initiative and we are to follow, helping guiding and walking with one another in the ways of forgiveness, mercy, compassion and justice.
One commentator concludes to be shaped by the gospel message means leading from the past traditions. ‘Here too the ruthless realism of the monastic’s can save us from foolishness that masquerades as wisdom. Those grizzled monks experienced every sort of pompous pronouncement, spiritual fraud and pious pretence. Their antennae were especially sensitive to what Cassian called loveless judgmentalism. Rather, they counselled an unqualified compassion toward human weakness, a consideration for frailty, and heartfelt empathy for those who struggle.’
Christians truly close to the heart of God “never frighten with bleak despair those who are in trouble or unsettle them with harsh words.” They gladly, fully, and freely proclaimed that God alone was “the gracious arbiter of hidden strength and human infirmity.” They looked “with a kind of overwhelming wonder at his ineffable gentleness.” So should we.’
May we follow God’s example by allowing our hearts to be filled with his love and following his ways.