Early morning blood glucose 6.2 mmol/L (excellent!)
My Bible reading this morning included these words "They came on a man from Cyrene named Simon & made him carry Jesus’ cross" (Matthew 27:32, The Message) - Cyrene was in North Africa (Libya)
The tradition is that Simon was a black man, but there was a large community of Palestinian Jews living in Cyrene at that time (as Acts 2:10 indicates) - but either way what is important is that even at this stage the Gospel story is touching other cultures . . .
Mark in his Gospel narrative tells us "There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander & Rufus. They made him carry Jesus’ cross." (Mark 15:21, The Message) this suggests that whoever Simon or Alexander & Rufus were they were known to the Church
My thoughts wandered as I read this verse of how even in those early days through this father & his two sons then following Pentecost how the Gospel story had been taken to Africa & then to the world
It has been said that 'God made man in His own image, & man has returned the compliment'
Why do we do that?
Why does each culture 'reinvent' Jesus within their own cultural framework?
Do we find these images of a black Jesus difficult to accept?
He certainly wasn't white!
In reinventing Jesus in our own culture have we some how forgotten to value the alien? "Treat the foreigner the same as a native. Love him like one of your own . . ." (Leviticus 19:34, The Message)
After all Scripture tells us "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life." (John 3:16, The Message) . . . God LOVES the world - the whole world - not just our particular corner or culture
We need to rediscover this multicultural aspect of Jesus; He came for the nations, His Gospel is for all cultures & He is not comfortable - He challenges us by His presence & message . . . have we made Jesus & His message too safe?
Had to meet up with an asylum friend - a number of issues to discuss including the fact that he is meeting his local MP & was nervous about giving his home address (there have been problems with 'early morning visits' & asylum seekers being taken, without warning, into detention or returned) we discussed away around that issue & he seemed to be much happier & settled (quite often it is enough to be a 'listening ear' for them to know that there is someone else who cares & prays)
Went on to meet with another asylum seeker who has just had a baby she also is in temporary accommodation, awaiting her decision (so unlike a refused asylum seeker who receive nothing she receives supermarket vouchers), unfortunately somebody had stolen her pram (although I think we may have a replacement soon) & she lives some way from the supermarket
So I took her to the doctor to register the baby & then onto the supermarket to do a 'big shop'
Back in the office there were a lot of emails to respond to as more-&-more people wanted to take the Challenge & there was the organising of the 'Endurance food parcels' for those in Manchester who are taking the Challenge
This week has also been the start of our 'Night Shelter Project' (aimed specifically at refused asylum seekers who find it difficult to access any other accommodation) which we are organising with the local Quakers - the start has been slow but this evening we had our first taker . . . a slow start but maybe that's a good thing allowing everybody to settle in
This evening was our church's mid-week Training Track on Leadership, as Viv & I weren't taking any asylum seekers along, we decided to arrive late go 'go for the meeting & miss the eating'
Breakfast: porridge & 1 slice of dry toast
Lunch: tin of sphagetti, slice of dry bread & apple
Dinner: 'Vietnamese Fried Rice' made with onion, sweetcorn & hotdog (this was really good!) followed by another apple
Bed time: blood glucose level 5.7 mmol/L (excellent!)