For many people September is a time of change and new beginnings. It certainly is for families with children; each one starting a new class, school or college. It can be difficult for our children who leave a familiar environment and move into the unknown. What will the new teacher be like? Will I make any friends? As parents we accept and welcome these changes as being helpful and beneficial. As adults we often resist change but part of the work of the Holy Spirit is to stir in us a holy discontent. Not one that will lead to grumbling, but to growth.
In the Bible there are many stories of people whose lives are changed by an encounter with God. Zacchaeus was a tax collector who took more than he should to make himself rich. He ended up with plenty of money but no friends. Jesus spotted him hiding in a tree and invited himself to tea. This meeting with Jesus changed Zacchaeus’s life. He gave back to people all that he had swindled four times over. He had changed from being selfish to being selfless. It must have made quite an impact on the community and made Jesus even more of a hero.
We may not be able to sit down with Jesus over a cup of tea, but an important part of prayer and reading the Bible is asking God to speak to us. It is nice to receive assurances of God’s love and comfort. It can be a more life changing to be challenged about how we are in way that leads to change and ultimately a richer and fuller life. How selfish are we in our attitude to money, to the poor, to our neighbour, to those who hurt us?
Migrants are a big part of the news at the moment. It is hard to imagine what horrors drive people to risk death and exploitation. It is a difficult problem that needs a global response. We must remember that these are human beings like us, only born in a different place. Our response must be to care for those seeking escape as well as seeking to deal with the causes that drive people to such extremes.
Rev Bill Henderson