Musing on Jesus’ words:
‘You load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.’ (Luke 11:46)
- Carry – Religious experts imposed a burden of expectations, demands and rules.
- Crush – This load was crushingly, back-breakingly, impossible to carry.
- Condemn – Jesus condemns them – ‘You never lift a finger to help!’
Two examples from this week:
- Young People
Yesterday 18 year old students received A-level results; lots of discussion…
Carry – There are far-ranging expectations of young people involving work ethic, politeness, respect, taking responsibility… They are accused of selfishness, laziness, rudeness, sexual promiscuity….
Crush – Expectations are often impossible. Older people demand standards they didn’t reach when they were young and don’t reach now. For some youngsters this burden can crush them….
Condemn – In condemning young people we condemn ourselves. Distancing ourselves from ‘them’ we don’t offer support. In churches we leave young people to ‘experts’. We don’t lift a finger to help.
Hundreds of refugees have crossed the English Channel this week in overcrowded dinghies…
Carry – We tell politicians what they should do. We expect others to sort themselves out, provide for themselves, protect themselves, carry their own burdens…
Crush – Some refugees have family in the UK, many have been mistreated. Driven from their homes by war, fear, poverty or persecution, all are vulnerable, homeless and already crushed.
Condemn – Hiding behind political arguments we lose sight of values of compassion, empathy and protecting human life. We say we only have a small island; we have small minds. We don’t lift a finger to help.
We must take responsibility for the most vulnerable. Those of us who claim to be Christians are called to both care for our neighbour and welcome the stranger.
We all are challenged by Jesus words: ’You never lift a finger to help.’