Pew Sermon for Sunday 19th September

Hello everyone, and welcome to Pew News once again

Since I saw you last, I have had a five-day holiday in Cornwall. 

I suspect it’s a universal experience, that both before and after a holiday break, many people ask us where we are going, or where we have been, and want to know all the details. It’s a human thing to do, full (perhaps) of both curiosity and care for the other person. 

But holidays are tricky! If they don’t go well, no one wants to know – have you found that? Everyone only wants to only hear good news. Perhaps in hope that their own, next holiday, can’t possibly go wrong! 

So obviously, I won’t be telling you about the 250 mile round trip down the scenic and soothing A303, or the crowded town centre with too many people, cars, dogs, and seagulls – all behaving badly! Or the indifferent weather, expensive eating out and no where to park! Because, of course, there were many good things too – family, sunny days, and of course, getting away from it all – which is so very healing in itself.

So, if you did have an awful holiday – what do you say when people expectantly ask you if you had a good time? How do you sell difficult news to people who don’t want to hear?

Most have heard of Extinction Rebellion, and their road-blocking activities. And now we have a new protest group – “Insulate Britain”, who blocked five M25 junctions on Monday, causing long tailbacks and large-scale disruption. Of course, regular M25 motorists may not be total strangers to such things – but in the cause of more home insulation? Few of the stranded and delayed probably had any sympathy.

And so, an ‘Insulate Britain’ spokesperson replied to the journalists what all protesters always say: “They won’t listen any other way – we have to therefore take drastic action to get our message across”.

The problem with megaphone messaging being that all protesters of EVERY cause always resort to the same logic. Worst case, such ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ strong arm tactics end in violence or worse. Much worse. As history bears sad witness.

So, if people won’t listen to your message – how exactly CAN you get it across peacefully?

This is the problem presented to Jesus also, as we have seen in our journeys through Mark’s gospel. Straight talk? Allegory? Concealment and keep them guessing? Humour? Seriousness? Nothing seems to work on the disciples or the crowds, who time and again are described as people without understanding, no matter how direct the message.

In the face of incomprehension, Jesus never ‘answers back’ – at least, not as I would! In terms of communicating His Gospel message, however vital, however impossible the task, as we have seen week after week, He always answers incomprehension with grace and empathy. Continually meeting us at our own level of understanding, or indeed misunderstanding, with kindness, patience and humility.

How to we deal with people who simply won’t listen? You may well have your own experiences and ideas. Let’s share them on Sunday, and see also how Jesus does it! I can’t wait – see you then!