Yesterday, in our local church, I showed this clip from Dexter Fletcher’s film, Sunshine on Leith. If the title reminds you of a song by the Proclaimers that’s because it’s a song by the Proclaimers. Dexter Fletch has given the Mamma Mia treatment to the songs by those twins from Leith.
I showed the clip partly because it’s a great feelgood moment, and I was talking about some of the great feelgood moments in the life of Jesus, Palm Sunday and a picnic for 5000, to name a couple. But also because it’s about gutsy love. This is not a song which promises that I’ll just nip down to the corner shop and get a chocolate heart for you. This is not sentiment from some romantic slush-fund. This is about promising to go, not just the extra mile, but the extra 500 miles, and then another 500 after that. This is love which involves sweat and dedication. Love which may not smell of Lynx, but of hard graft and sheer perspiration.
And this is the kind of love that Jesus demonstrated. He’d come further than 500 miles for those people on Palm Sunday and he’d certainly go another 500 miles for them. The ordinary woman and man in the street broke his heart. His concern for them got under his skin and drew blood. He’d go the distance for these people. And come back again. It was only as I talked about this clip and the 500 miles that Jesus went that it really hit me. His dedication, his sweat and sacrifice, his desire to honour you and me. His willingness to die so that he could kick down the walls of heartache, and clear a path through lives of struggle and pain.
However the bit of the Bible we looked at yesterday tells of an attempt to assassinate Jesus. An attempt by the people he had grown up with. When Jesus announced that he was a man with a plan, people didn’t like that plan. There wasn’t enough blood and thunder in it. They wanted a warrior, a braveheart Messiah who would kick-ass the Romans out of town. Instead Jesus stood up and proclaimed his vision – God’s compassion available for everyone. Enemies included. So there was no feelgood moment. Not then anyway. A few miles down the road the ordinary folk would celebrate when they saw eyes opened and parties on hillsides. But they would have to change their ideas. As we have to today, they would have to be prepared for a different kind of God, and the best way to do that was to walk with him… 500 miles… then 500 more. And 2000 years later the walking, and the changing of ideas, goes on…