A Community of Hope on the way of Jesus

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“Accidents will happen!

Do you ever have the feeling that you are accident prone? I feel that I am more accident prone than most and until recently held the record in my family. On Sunday after my post service/repast snooze I checked my phone to find a message from my brother, it said: “In hospital, broken elbow after a bike fall. Going to theatre soon”, over 30 mins had passed so he was likely to be having the operation as I was reading it. The Government is keen for us to get fitter and yes I do need to lose weight, lock-down has piled on the pounds, but my athletic brother, a fraction my weight and 6 feet 2 inches tall has kept very fit. Well that being so, this is the third bike accident in as many years that has caused real damage. He is in a cycling club, but the first incident involved hitting a stray sheep (don’t ask about the sheep but he is a vet) as he came round a bend, the second wet leaves on a steep decline and pulling over for a tractor hit the kerb. I will be looking up the cost of stabilisers for his bike or as my nephew suggested get him a tricycle! Many of you will remember that I don’t need a potentially dangerous hobby to get “plastered”, just the stairs at home will do. As a child I lived in the country and lived as if in a “Famous Five” story or one the adventures of “Just William”. Today the hospital would probably refer me to social services, as I made so many trips to casualty, falling out of trees, putting my foot down a rabbit hole, knife wound from making arrows (my brother was always the cowboy with the gun, so I was forced to improvise) or sailing over the jump with my pony watching, all four hooves planted firmly on the ground! I still have the scars to remind me of my misadventures, but it was all part of growing up. 

As an adult I put away childish things but still managed to be just as clumsy. In Corinthians 13 it says: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things.”  

Jesus said that the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children but here Paul appears to be saying that adults must put away childish things. The context makes the difference, as Paul uses the word “nepios”, Greek for the youngest member of the family, usually the most defenceless and is used in relation to people, who do not grow spiritually or awareness remains simple, like that of an infant. In contrast when Jesus uses this word in Matthew 11:25:  “you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children”, Jesus is saying that it is God who brings glory not men, who prided themselves on their wisdom (here one can think of the influence of Hellenism (Greek culture) and the previous centuries of philosophical debate). Paul on the other hand is saying that we should not stay like children in our faith or beliefs but be led by the Holy Spirit from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity.   If this is looked at alongside Matthew 19:14 or Luke 18:16 the Greek word changes to “paidon”, not childish but childlike, but not in the degree of one’s faith but the humility of that person. They are not helpless infants, children but not yet self-sufficient, arrogant and totally independent. This is something perhaps Ofqual should have adopted when grading A Levels, and certainly “out of the mouth of babes” springs to mind, during the outcry about the unfair, statistical formulae applied. I appreciate that the exam boards must maintain the integrity of the exam and not allow grade inflation, but the formulae applied didn’t take a genius to see how inappropriate it was! I wish all those young people affected by the grade debacle, peace of mind and to those of us accident prone mortals, pain-free days. 

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God: and so we are.” 1 John 3:1