Paddy is a rough diamond, quite unkempt, and in the hygiene department leaves a bit to be desired. But, if you are looking for a loyal friend, you won’t find a better one than Paddy. He is surprisingly thoughtful of others, he is helpful and accepting. In other words, with Paddy - what you see is what you get.
In his gospel, Luke tells a story where John (the baptiser) sends a couple of his people over to ask Jesus if ‘he is the one’ who had come to lift everyone out of their suffering and oppression. When they got there, Jesus was being Jesus – healing people’s ailments, casting out from them the demons of loneliness, despair and rage, and generally encouraging them and pointing them towards something larger and more personal. In response Jesus simply says to John’s people, ‘Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard’ (Luke 7:22a).
In a sense Luke’s Jesus is saying to them, ‘What you see is what you get’. And of course what they see is Jesus the healer, the deliverer, the one who restores men and women to freedom and to relationship with God and one another. Everything says ‘he is the one’.
In our time the world sends its people to check out the Church. What do they see? A mission of healing, deliverance and encouragement? Sometimes yes, sometimes no! Mostly, what the world sees in the Church is what it gets ...
It is to heaven that we look expectantly for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to save us; he will form this humbled body of ours anew, moulding it into the image of his glorified body, so effective is his power to make all things obey him- Philippians 3:20b-21
Gracious God, may the coming celebration of the birth of your Son restore your Church and enable it to bring healing, deliverance and encouragement to your people. We ask you this through ‘the One’ you have sent us, and for whom we wait, Christ the Lord. Amen.
Tonight I saw the people ....- From ‘Lonely people weeping’ by James Kavanaugh
Walking in the crowded streets,
Walking in the privacy of fog damp darkness,
Separate shadows apart,
Weary of step and heart ...