Thought for the Day - Anne Atkins
Do you know what this generation’s like? It’s like a crowd of children in a public place, shouting at passers-by. “We piped music but you wouldn’t dance.” “We complained but
you wouldn’t cry.” John the Baptist didn’t eat or drink and you said he was unbalanced. I did and you called me a boozer. And then accused me of partying with those who made
money at other people’s expense.
Like her Master, the Church can’t win. If she strives to keeps her absurdly expensive inheritances open to the public, she’s too concerned with making ends meet. If she sits down on the pavement and protests about the poor, she too political.
“What would Jesus do?” shouts the placard. What indeed. He usually wrong-footed those who thought they could second-guess. Not everyone who claims to be on my side is a
friend of mine: there’ll be some at the gates of Heaven saying, Didn’t we protest in your name? and I’ll say, I don’t think we’ve met...
We don’t want to associate with violence in His name to clear a place of worship? But He used it Himself, thrashing out with a whip of lashes those selling sacrifices as proscribed by God’s law. Presumably because there is an even more important law: that God welcomes those who aren’t part of the worshipping community. This is supposed to be a place of prayer for everyone, and you’ve turned it into property for profit.
Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Small consolation for clergy who - unlike the rest of us, if we merely resign from work -
have also relinquished their homes and may have nowhere to house their children. And yet He loved lavish hospitality, accepted financial support from friends, and His first
miracle was to make the shindig go with a swing. So perhaps it’s dangerous to claim Him for one side or the other.
But one thing is sure. He resolutely refused to be an activist. Yes, He cared for the displaced,
disadvantaged and despised. But what did He care about most? Presented with a paralysed man, He said, Your sins are forgiven. Not exactly what His supplicant was looking
It hasn’t been shared out fairly, someone complained to Him. Put it right! What for? He asked. And then told this story: there was a successful capitalist, who accumulated and saved and acquired and expanded, and promised himself an early retirement.
You idiot, God said. Tonight your soul will be required of you.
So why do you trust so little? Why care about food or money? Even the flowers are clothed, the birds counted. Don’t you think you will be too? You can’t prolong a minute of your life by worrying about it.
Are you the King of the Jews? demanded the despot with the power to end His.
Did you think that up all by yourself? He replied. You call me a king, and that’s why I came. But my Kingdom is not of this world.
You’re all anxious about the wrong things.