Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Feeling your age

I'm sitting here feeling rather sorry for myself after parting company with my upper 6 left molar this afternoon. We'd been through a lot together, but our relationship had become increasingly precarious in recent times. In the end it was the man who'd done so much of the patching up for us who decided the time had come to call it a day. So having gone to his surgery prepared for root canal work and a crown, I came away with a big hole and instuctions to steer clear of hot drinks, hard and chewy food... and alcohol - fortunately only for the rest of the day.

It's part of the aging process I suppose, though perhaps the damage was done in my teenage years when my childhood dentist used to drill anything that remotely resembled decay - thank goodness that there's a more hands-off approach now.

Thinking of how my body seems to be packing-in in various ways gave me cause for reflection as I looked at last Sunday's Gospel (Mark 9.30-37): Jesus taking a child in his arms and saying, "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me..." We have to be like little children to draw close to God's kingdom. I found myself comparing this with St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, who seems to consider it a virtue to have "put an end to childish ways." The childish approach for him is compared to having a knowledge which is only partial. Adulthood is about finding things "complete." But isn't that where we so often get things wrong? We want to have everything wrapped up - being adult requires that we have all the answers.

Perhaps we whizz past the implications of this when reading 1 Corinthians - much more attractive to read about Faith, Hope and Love. Maybe Paul hadn't thought it out. We need to recognise that our knowledge is only partial. That's why we need to be like children.

Anyway that's what I found myself saying when I preached at our tiny 8a.m. Eucharist a few days ago. Our Reader, Rosie Junemann, got the prime-time 10a.m. slot, and you can find out what she said here.

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