In “Vanishing Grace”, Phillip Yancey describes a survey in which a bunch of United States citizens were asked what would be the phrase they would most like to hear. The most popular result? I love you. Second most popular? I forgive you. Third? Supper’s ready. I think that’s brilliant – “I love you, I forgive you, supper’s ready”; the gospel in a nutshell. This makes me wonder, if so many people are yearning for the gospel, why do so few respond to it? But, the Christmas story is still fresh from last week, when an entire nation was longing for a saviour, but when it came down to it, the only people who actually recognised his birth were a bunch of itinerant animal herders and a couple of pagan astrologists. Israel didn’t recognise the gospel as the good news that they thought they were looking for.
In casual conversation last week, one of my Scout leader colleagues mentioned “you really made an impression on (visiting Scout leader). She asked me who you were and what you’re doing here (never manage to lose that pesky foreign accent), and when I told her how ridiculous it is that you have degrees from famous international universities but you still can’t work in Argentina she was amazed that you’re even still here, and she loved watching you work with the Scouts and she was impacted by your commitment and your humility”. So I discover that people around me can be impacted by the very reality that I am not using my skills. And I also discover that I don’t want to be known for my humility, thank you very much. Sulk.
Danny meanwhile is making his own discoveries on a more existential level. “Mummy, I’m not a cake, I’m Danny”. I have no idea from whom or how he could have got the idea that anyone thought he was a cake, but I was happy to endorse his conclusions.