Lent 2017 Meditation 4
The Gift of Giving
by Revd Paul Le Sueur
The Gift of Other People
‘Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I shall make a partner suited to him.”’ Genesis 2: 18. Few would choose to be hermits. For our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing we need other people, and God has provided many of them. Most of those we interact with meaningfully will be friends and family; using the word family in its broadest context, i.e. Church family, fellowships, societies and other groups such as U3A, Rotary, choirs, etc..
They are a gift from God for our wellbeing. It must be admitted that at times they may not be an unqualified blessing.
In a Church Visitor’s Book, I came across a printed ‘bon mot’ on each page. One said, ‘Guests always bring pleasure, if not in the coming, then in the going.’ An ancient Christian book, the Didache, suggests that visiting prophets should be honoured guests for three days and then asked to move on.
Family, friends and others can be a wonderful support at times and hard going at other times. Should we not regard challenging behaviours as an opportunity to test our characters? That is a rhetorical question.
At funerals the many virtues of the deceased are often mentioned. One wonders how often their friends have acknowledged these gifts to them when they were alive.
Questions to consider
- Most people like to be liked. When you meet someone who seems to take pleasure in being disagreeable, what experiences in life do you think has made them that way? How do we respond to such people?
- In a crowded world there are many lonely people. Why? And what can we do about it?
Read through the first three chapters of St Mark’s Gospel, noting down how many positive and how many negative encounters with people Jesus has, and how he deals with the difficult ones.
Dear Lord and Father of all human kind,
whose Son Jesus Christ had many fruitful encounters with others,
thank you for all those we shall meet in the coming days
and help us to remember that each one is unique
and each one is loved by you,
and may we be a blessing to them.
For a few minutes imagine you are seated at a table in a café with someone you find really difficult. Jesus comes in and sits down with you. Imagine the conversation that will follow. You may or may not wish to share this with the group.
This meditation is available to download as a PDF here: Lent 2017 Meditation 4.