There’s a story of a young couple who had just moved into their new home together and were preparing their first roast dinner. After unwrapping the meat and putting it on a board, the woman chopped off both ends and threw them away before putting the meat in the oven.
The man was bemused, “Why did you do that?” he asked. “Why did you just throw away the ends of the meat?” “I don’t know,” the woman replied, “It’s just what my mum always used to do – maybe it helps to bring out the flavour.” The man wasn’t happy with this answer and was left wondering what was the point of cutting off the ends of the meat. A few weeks later, the woman’s mother was visiting so he decided to try and solve the mystery. “Can you tell me why you always cut off the ends of the meat before you cook it?” he asked. “I’m not really sure,” the mother replied, “that’s just the way my mother always cooked meat and it always tasted great.” By this time the man was getting very frustrated, so he decided to call the woman’s grandmother. “I have a very important question for you,” he said to her, “Can you please tell me why you always cut the ends off the meat before you cook it.” “Oh yes dear,” she answered, “I have to cut the ends off to make sure it will fit in the pan.”
This story illustrates how there are clearly times in our life when the things that we do or the way that we do them have to change – they are not relevant any more – they’ve lost their significance. It made perfect sense for the Grandmother to cut off the ends of the meat – but there was no need for her granddaughter to do the same if she had a bigger pan.
Already it feels like we are well into 2018, yet it is still a good time to re-evaluate where we are, personally and as a church; and perhaps commit to making some spiritual goals for the year ahead.
As a church – are there things that we have done, or ways that we have done them for a long time, that are no longer relevant anymore? Are we still effectively meeting the needs of those around us and engaging with our community, or have needs changed and people’s understanding changed, which means that we might have to change the way that we do things?
The message of Jesus is as relevant today as it has ever been, but we need to communicate it in a way which connects with our culture and enables people to see the truth of Jesus.
And what about in our own lives? Have we become over familiar with Jesus in a way that has left us losing sight of how amazing he truly is? Jesus is still the same as ever – and as radical, surprising and challenging as he ever was too. Perhaps at the start of this New Year, it would be good to see Jesus in a new light – and rediscover something of the truth of the Son of God that attracted crowds and led people to leave everything to follow him.
We’ll be thinking a little bit about some of these things on some Sundays over the next few weeks. But I encourage you to consider these things on your own at home too. Go back to the gospels – read them afresh – rediscover Jesus and ask him to help you to see how to share his message relevantly in our culture today.
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