Passage: Luke 14.1, 7–14
Clip from the film “Rat Race” showing John Cleese explaining the rules of the race: https://youtu.be/XSVzRBiiTxA
Clip showing Derek Redmond’s race in the 1992 Olympics: https://youtu.be/t2G8KVzTwfw
[Show Rat Race video clip]
We may not often realise or admit it, but it’s very easy to approach life like a race. We compete against others and judge how successful we are by comparing our position to others. “I’m doing better at me job than them”, “they’re richer than me”, “I’m cleverer than him”, “she’s more popular than me”.
In today’s reading Jesus cut right across that competitive spirit where we compare ourselves with others and try to make sure we are better than them.
In a moment we’re going to watch a video of a very different race.
At the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, Derek Redmond was running in the 400m when he tore his hamstring and was in terrible pain. His race was over. Or so you would think. But he was determined to get to the end. He limped and hobbled and then a man came running onto the track to help him. It was his father. The officials weren’t impressed. After all the race had ended and someone had won. But the father waved them away saying “it’s my boy”.
That’s 21 years ago and I have no idea who won the 400m gold medal at those Olympics. Most people don’t. But no-one who saw it will ever forget Derek and his dad.
And it’s such a powerful picture for us.
Because actually we are all limping. Jesus said to invite those who are “lame” and I think it’s a reminder that we each have things that have hurt us, or struggles we face or things we carry and we go on through the walk through life. Jesus said another time that those who thought they were well didn’t need a doctor, but he was like the doctor for those who knew they weren’t whole and perfect.
As we watch the video put yourself in Derek’s shoes. And be reminded that God, your heavenly Father walks with you and cheers you on and supports you.
[watch Derek Redmond video… As video ends say a short prayer of thanks]
With that perspective he calls us to forget the race to be first or top dog. Instead he calls us to join him and walk alongside the lame.
Someone said that “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less”
Real humility isn’t me saying “I’m rubbish”, that’s still focusing on me. It’s turning the attention away from myself to God and to those he is leading me to.
We’re going to use some prayer stations now, some will help us to think how we can do that. There will also be a space to continue to reflect on the Father walking with us.
The stations that followed this talk were: