Monday, 11 July 2016

Tender & Humble - Sunday 10th July 2016

Middle-Eastern emigration into Europe (via Turkey) is nothing new. It was happening in the 1st Century as many Jewish people sought a new life in the established Roman cities of western Turkey. Among those migrating Jews were many who embraced the teaching of Jesus.
These migrants, like others before and after them, held firmly onto the customs of their homeland, in particular to their God-given law. This determined difference caused suspicion and tension, and there were repeated attacks on the migrant communities. (This is an all too familiar story!)
St Peter wrote a letter to the oppressed migrants, which is as remarkable for what it does not say as for what it does say. He said nothing at all about maintaining the Law of Moses, which was so important to his fellow Jews. He did not advise the Jewish-Christians to stand out in either their Jewishness or their Christianness. Instead, he simply advised them to accept and respect their new surroundings, and live well and honourably.
Peter was applying the message and example of Jesus into this situation. For Jesus, the measure of godliness was not in explicit religion but in ordinary, practical love. Peter summed up his advice to the unhappy migrants saying: “finally, all of you, have: sympathy; love for each other; a tender heart; and a humble mind.”
This is a glorious gem of practical advice. Whenever we find ourselves in stress or conflict, we need these words to echo in our minds: “have a tender heart and a humble mind”. That will mark out the path that Jesus trod before us.

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