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  • Martin Kirkbride

Thought For Today: Location, Location, Location

My Lockdown doesn’t just mean a TV binge of watching ‘Pointless’, I’m also pointlessly watching all the re-runs of Kirsty and Phil on, Location, Location, Location’ . Perhaps it is pointless to watch people relocating at a time when we aren’t allowed to but what interests me is the number of people wanting to move from busy towns and cities into rural villages – often for retirement or a quieter lifestyle. The programme is about more than homes, it tells us a lot about their everyday lives.

The Gospels give us an insight into the daily life of the times of Jesus. But if we could slot Jesus into a Location Location Location context we would find his journey is the reverse, it starts from an quiet village and moves to the crucifying noise of the big city. Luke’s Gospel records that Jesus grew, “in wisdom and age and grace before God and men.” This highlights that His human life was a reality. Jesus lived in Palestine, in the obscure Galilean village of Nazareth.

He grew up in a rural location with a rural lifestyle.But his life, death and resurrection was also to be forever linked with the urban – the city of Jerusalem. At the age of twelve, Jesus went down to the Temple of Jerusalem to make his ‘bar mitzvah’, to become a ‘son of the commandment’. He talked with the teachers who were astonished at his wisdom. He discovered the Temple with its priests, its merchants, the noise, the smells, the colours, and jostling crowds. To His parents who searched for him, he answered that he had to be about His Father’s affairs. He already had a deep awareness of his relationship with God whom He called His Father. Returning to Nazareth, Jesus was subject to Mary and Joseph, and embedded in the ordinariness of life.

Later, in his teaching, he used many village and rural life illustrations: he compared the Reign of God to a lamp which gave light to the entire house, or to yeast which a woman took and kneaded into three measures of flour, and which made all the dough rise, or still better, of seed sown in the earth which grew up irresistibly, whether man was awake or asleep. Throughout his preaching, the memories of his childhood are obvious. The images which he returned to in his teaching - the lilies of the fields, the birds that ate the grain on the road, as well as that of the widow who demanded justice and that of the unjust judge -- revealed his deep rootedness in ordinary everyday life.

His everday location may have been a village, it may have been a city, it may have been a lonely cross, it may have been a tomb (though he didn’t stay there long), but He is now located back in the glory of heaven yet forever relocating into the hearts and homes of people who invite him in.

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