Services by Rev'd Chris during church closure

Sunday 14th June service Jacky Darling

 

Matthew 9:35- 10:8

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they we harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (v36)

Compassion is a word we often hear in scripture and yet we don’t always give it the attention it deserves;

At the feeding of the Four Thousand Jesus had compassion on them (15;32)

He had compassion on the two blind men (20;34)

The Samaritan had compassion on the foreign traveller (Lk 10:33)

The father saw his prodigal son and had compassion on him (15;20)

I have a sneaking feeling ‘compassion’ and ‘love’ have become confused – which is a pity. They are distinctly different but both are essential parts of being a Christian.

The OED describes compassion as “The feeling or emotion, when a person is moved by the suffering or distress of another, and by the desire to relieve it; pity that inclines one to spare or to succour.”

Compassion is quite different from pity. Pity (or sympathy) is the feeling of sharing the suffering of others. Compassion is more; it’s the desire to do something to change it.

Compassion isn’t just a fleeting emotion. It doesn’t just inspire a few words of sympathy and an empathetic nod. It requires action.

Time and time again scripture compels us to compassion – but it is never easy. It is giving part of you and that can hurt.  Nowhere are we specifically told we must have compassion but if you cut out the acts of compassion from Jesus’s teachings from your bible it would simply fall apart into little pieces.

Repeatedly we are called to be like Jesus;

forgiving those who hate us

giving our lives for others

praying for our enemies

sharing in His suffering

and being witnesses to Him.

And we can only do that if we are prepared to show compassion.

But it isn’t easy.

Compassion for the homeless, for travellers setting up camp in our neighbourhood, for migrants risking death and arriving on our beaches, for people dealing with addictions.

This past two weeks have seen events, which started with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis escalate into a worldwide campaign demanding that black people are treated fairly and equally. Whatever your views on the protests the undeniable truth is that black people have suffered a deep injustice that goes back centuries and that is plain wrong. Where is our compassion?

It’s perhaps also worth noting that worldwide there are 90 million Anglicans; but the average Anglican is now under thirty, black from sub-Saharan Africa and doesn’t speak English as a first language.

If we believe in the fellowship of Christians and we are grounded by the example of Jesus in our lives then we need to fill ourselves with a lot more compassion in our response to the range of challenges and injustices in this world.

Across the world there are churches based in some of the world’s poorest communities in the midst of poverty doing what they can to help those in need. They are positioned to be the hands and feet of Jesus right where they are. What they so often lack is finance and support, that’s where the global church can rally behind them.

Together we can make each other stronger.

Jesus wants us to care so much that we’re not feeling something we’re doing something.

Matthew 25:40 “ Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Let’s show our compassion in action.

Amen