The Friday Thought - Looking to the old to find the new

At Christmas I had announced how the family dog and I had formed a support group as we tried to cope with the lack of attention caused by the arrival of an infant. Both of us have been moved down the pecking order and sit in the shadows as the child enjoys all the fussing over and being spoilt. My initial complaint had begun many years ago, twenty five years ago to be exact when my nephew’s mother was born, namely my sister. Being the youngest and only girl in the house she needed her own room so I was evicted from my room and for the last twenty years I have been trying to recover from the consequences. It was bad enough sharing with two younger brothers but being made to sleep in the top bunk bed shattered my confidence because I have a fear of heights. Unfortunately we have one of those sloping roofs in the bedroom which brought its own dangers when you wakened in the morning.

On many an occasion the Lord’s Prayer was said as I hit my head off the ceiling. I should be grateful because it’s a rare enough experience for me to hit my head off anything. I blame these knocks to my head for my receding hairline. All these memories were put into perspective this week when my sister announced she was moving out. I was shocked and surprised whilst wondering what colours to pick for my new room. My sister, worried, I might need a bed offered to leave the nephew’s tiny bed claiming it should be big enough. The poor house dog is all excited as well, knowing she will be the centre of attention again. Like any female, the dog is high maintenance and often you have tread carefully because there are no rational explanations for her moods. On Friday when I arrived home the dog was bouncing about excitedly because she had the house all to herself. Unfortunately the dog was looking to me for a playmate. I struggled through the door, up the hall whilst trying not to trip over this lunatic of a canine.

In the end I couldn’t cope and decided to walk down to my sister and her partner’s house. I was told they were decorating but even the thought of being caught for work was more appealing than being ambushed by a house dog. I had blessed the house the weekend before and many hours since had been spent in freshening the house and making it into their home. All excited my sister was explaining all the changes and she kept asking me did I remember the colour of this wall, these tiles, this kitchen top. To be honest I couldn’t remember a thing. I was more worried about the work being done in the kitchen and the prospects of getting a cup of tea. The house was beginning to take shape; it was looking well, bright walls, new carpet and various other new additions. In the midst of all the work I was going to offer to paint the skirting boards but thankfully the carpet fitter arrived and that was the end of my attempts to become involved in the arena of DIY. Any way I didn’t what to steal their thunder, it was their home.

For all concerned these next weeks and months will mark a new beginning and a fresh start. Fortunately my sister’s house is only a five minute walk away from my parent’s home. They now live off the Racecourse Road which as providence would have it is about two hundred yards from our old home in Maybrook. Walking down the Racecourse road on Friday evening bought many memories flooding back. We moved home over twenty five years ago and for the first year I was very unsettled. Every night I wished we could move back to Maybrook, the new house was older and it didn’t feel like the home I was used to. Yet in time and through the passing of each year and the sharing of new experiences I soon settled into the new surroundings. Certainly our childhoods are very formative in shaping the person we become. Walking past familiar buildings, houses and landmarks on Friday evening, touched by a sense of nostalgia, helped me to see everything in a new light as I noticed different details.

When Jesus returned to Nazareth and entered the Synagogue he was surrounded by the familiar faces of people who thought they knew him. Yet when he was handed the scroll of the prophet and declared how scripture was being fulfilled in their hearing, the people were amazed and astounded. We are told how all the eyes of the people were fixed on him; you can nearly feel the drama, tension and the expectation. Having grown up throughout our lives listening the familiar messages and images of our faith, our we open to be surprised, are we open to seeing and hearing anew. Are our eyes fixed on Jesus, are we ready to listen to his word. This is the central question, because how we listen and how we respond to the person of Jesus highlights who we believe Jesus to be.

If we truly believe Jesus is God’s Son, if we accept he has been set to bring about the year of God’s favour, then what are we doing to bring good news to the poor, now do we set captives free and now do help to bring new sight to the blind.