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Church News Volume 5, Issue 1

Dear friends,

Why is it that however big the suitcase, there is never enough room for that last pair of shoes? Most of us take more luggage away with us than we will actually use. At the airport there are people with bulging suitcases going away for a short holiday, alongside the young backpackers leaving home for much longer periods but only with the clothes and belongings they have in a small rucksack! The principle being to take only that which will be used as it all has to be carried.

In the Gospel we read of many people setting out on journeys. In particular there is a story of Jesus meeting a rich young man. The young man wants to follow Jesus and journey with Him. Jesus tells him that to do so means having to leave behind his riches. The young man cannot do so. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven says Jesus to His disciples.

Jesus the backpacker is travelling light, on His journey towards His destiny in Jerusalem, the cross, death and resurrection. The rich young man was trying to set out on a spiritual journey, a pilgrimage of discovery. He wanted to journey with Jesus but when confronted by Jesus' words turned back, grieving and carrying his bulging suitcase of all his material possessions which he just couldn't't bring himself to leave behind in order to follow Jesus.

The rich young man was not a bad man. He had we are told in the Bible obeyed all the commandments, and we are told that Jesus, an excellent judge of character, saw him and felt drawn to him. Jesus knew that the young man wanted to follow Him and so He gave him the opportunity to do so, explaining that to travel with Jesus means to travel light, not being weighted down by bulging suitcases of possessions and worldly concerns. Carrying a heavy load would mean that following Jesus would be difficult and the disciple to be would not be able to keep up with Him.

Wealth itself is not evil, but what Jesus says is that it can get in the way of our spiritual journey. Wealth, or the pursuit of it, can provide a focus for our lives which can take us away from the real focus of a disciple which is to keep up with Jesus and not lag behind on our spiritual journey through this life.

Those of us who are not wealthy might feel a little smug on reading the story of the rich young man in the Gospel. Perhaps congratulate ourselves that it is easier for us to inherit eternal life because we are not weighed down by material possessions, or are we? What is there in our own lives that is holding us down, surplus to our requirements on our spiritual journey? What can we leave out of our backpacks which would make our journey towards God easier? Following Jesus on the path to eternal life does entail sacrifice on our part, the giving up of those things which prevent us from seeing the needs of others, or gets in the way of a living, loving relationship with God and other people.

Ambition, pride, laziness and self-satisfaction are among the items we can remove from our packing list.

Jesus we believe has passed through the Heavens and has opened for us a way into the Father's presence.

If we do seek to follow Him there, let us not risk being turned away from the flight because our baggage is too heavy, or even miss the chance to get there because our excess baggage has weighed us down and we lagged behind.

Revd Ian M. Finn

News Letter Archive.

Last Modified Sunday 04 March 2018