Mothers’ Union Devotion Wednesday 15th September 2021
For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.’ Luke 7. 31-35
Do you ever find yourselves holding your hands up in exasperation and saying – I just can’t win. Being told off in school for talking too much and then receiving a report that says you should speak up more in class. Listening to a family member complain their clothes don’t fit and then having to deal with their disappointment when you cook something healthy for dinner. Being told your sense of fashion is too dowdy, too fashionable, for your age; your hair is too long, too short, too colourful, too grey, etc. etc. We live in a society which is most comfortable with the status quo where everyone is expected to conform to a certain set of standards, and it is seemingly outrageous to stand out with too much individuality.
Jesus highlights this sense of there being only one correct, socially acceptable way to behave when he was speaking to the crowds about John the Baptist. The authorities of his day expected everyone to dance to the same tune and get upset about the same things. So, when John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, living a severely ascetic lifestyle which none of them could endure, he is accused of being possessed. I suppose the equivalent accusation these days would be an obsessive mental health condition. Their reaction to Jesus is no different, however. Jesus unlike John, eats, drinks and is highly sociable but this results in him being labelled as a glutton and a drunkard.
Jesus, however, does not rate one lifestyle over another. He not only accepts John for who he is, He declares that John is more than a prophet and that there is no one born of woman, who is greater than John. Yet, he also welcomes with open arms the tax collectors and sinners who are rejected by the arbiters of their society. Everyone has a value, each of us has a place in God’s kingdom.
Such an important concept for us to take deep into our hearts. We are loved because of our individuality not because of our ability to conform to a rigid set of societal rules. Once we can truly accept this amazing gift, we are free to share the same gift of acceptance and hospitality to all we encounter.
With all my love and prayers