( I had prepared this for yesterday's Thought For The Day and then got a call to do another Van Morrison... so here is the one that got away...)
So, the summer is over. The school run starts again this morning. The traffic will be heavier. The nights are drawing in. Those long hot summer Irish days are but a memory now.
Wherever you spent July and August I hope you had a good time, some relaxation, family memories…even if the weather was even worse than usual…
My vacation times are for reading novels, not theology, and listening to records I don’t get time to throughout the year. It is in those relaxing pastimes that usually lead me into some real challenges to my heart and soul.
A few weeks ago I was causally listening to a song by American singer Iris Dement when these words jumped out and smacked my soul -
“Humble yourself to be the meanest servant of your worst enemy,
And learn to call the brute beast of the forest ways your brother,
They are a translation of Anna Akhmatova a Russian poet who suffered the horrors of the Stalin era but refused to leave Russia despite being named an enemy of the state.
Goodness. Serving your worst enemy. Calling the brute beast a brother or sister. Come on!
It reminded me immediately of Jesus words to Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Jesus went on to ask what good it was if we loved those who love us.
It is a challenge, a stretch of our humanity, an inspiration to be more than the norm.
Then at a concert last week Ben Kyle sang a Bobby Womack song… “The bravest man in the universe is the one who has forgiven first” Again. wow! Courage.
So I am back on the school run, back in our wee divided place and I am up for this stretching of my humanity. I am up for going further than the normal default. I am up for serving my enemies and making the brute beasts my brothers and sisters. It will not be easy. It will not seem fair. Indeed at times it will be just plain wrong. BUT… what would our world look like if we were all brave enough to forgive first… that’s what Jesus did?