Monday, 4 August 2008

Self-Sacrifice


St John's Chapel Address Weeks 3 & 4, Term 2 2008.Part of the 'Jesus is Different Series'.
[The reading was John 15:12-17]

I left the story from last week with a screwdriver poking in my belly and satanic abuse being spat (literally) into my face from a drug crazed maniac. It got worse. Screwdriver man decided not to stab me. But the female parishioner beside me gave him some lip, he responded, she did likewise, and boom, his arm went up to stab her. Right next to me. And that is when I knew I loved my life more than hers. It was all in slow motion. I had time to just step in front of her and take the blow. But I didn't want to. (I should have said earlier that I loved my life more than their lives - she was pregnant.) Luckily, screwdriver man's partner in crime rugby tackled him at the crucial moment and pulled him off. Things fizzled then, we stepped back from the precipice, and twenty minutes later the police arrived and went off to find screwdriver man and arrest him.

Contrast this with what Jesus teaches, and lives. He says that we should be willing to sacrifice ourselves. Why? Well, for at least a couple of reasons. First, it is the nature of love to self-sacrifice when called upon. Jesus thinks that we should love one another, just as he did, and as God does. Second, evil is not overcome by standing idly by, nor is it overcome by punching back. Jesus recognised that evil is overcome only when those who oppose it are willing to bear the cost of opposing and standing up to it. In his case, that resulted in his death. This is a tough call. But I am sure Jesus is right, no matter how difficult it is to put into practice. Of course, few are asked to actually physically die. But all of us are invited everyday to love that little bit more, and that will mean self-sacrifice of some kind.

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