27th April 2022

Recently there have been lots of colourful posters around Nailsea announcing a forthcoming ‘Fun Run’. To me that’s a contradiction in terms – ‘Fun’ and ‘Run’ do not belong in the same sentence! Put it down to having to do cross-country runs round the school playing fields and the local lanes on damp, winter afternoons. Clearly I was scarred for life!

Probably the Jews of Christ’s time might have had a similar reaction had they heard the phrase ‘Good Samaritan’ – two words that don’t belong together. Christ’s teaching was full of seeming contradictions. ‘Love your enemies and pray for your persecutor’. Try telling that to the Ukrainian woman who has just been raped by the Russian soldier who has killed her husband. No – if I encountered her I certainly wouldn’t presume to remind her of Christ’s teaching on that subject. Maybe, in the fullness of time, she may find it in her heart to do just that, but it is certainly not our place either to remind her of Christ’s words or to judge her – ‘do not judge and you will not be judged’, Christ also taught. But that doesn’t excuse us from trying to obey the teaching ourselves. Even in less harrowing circumstances it is never easy, but that’s what the grace of God is there for, to help us live up to the Gospel we proclaim.

And no – I am not going to enter the Fun Run – one advantage of being older is that nobody is going to expect me to take part!

David Roberts