Saturday Extra: A Chance

Simon stares at the space, the space where his brother should be. The gap, yawning wide. Like the chasm in his own life. Looking through to the emptiness beyond. Nothing but open space without the required solutions. People pass by in the distance, life goes on, children play and wrestle, argue and make things up. But nothing means much to him. He wants to fish, fishing buries his questions and fears, it distracts him. But he can’t go anywhere without his younger brother. He’s stuck here. Unable to escape. It hasn’t helped that his brother’s been so preoccupied lately with all this religious nonsense. Chasing after Messiah’s and new ideas like a wild dog chases its tale. Or another weaker dog’s tale. They’re like chalk and cheese in some ways. Andrew’s given to that kind of thing but Simon’s already seen the light. He’ll never be the religious type. Not really. He’s not made of the right stuff. Do-gooding and looking right and being hemmed in by narrow ideas. It’s just not him. He’s not exactly sure what is him right now, but he knows it’s not that. So when his brother chases after the latest fad it burrows into him like a nail in the palm of his hand. He’ll learn, he’ll no doubt be excited for a while then grow up a bit and calm down. The world is not the bright shining place his brother thinks it is, it’s hard and cold and full of the enemy’s swords. It’s unforgiving and twisted. ‘Hey!’ Oh great, here he is now. Full of froth and ‘guess what I’ve just found’. ‘You’re late,’ Simon barks, and the words come out with the force of a rock from a catapult. Andrew barely notices. ‘Been chasing that Baptist again have you?’ Simon snarls. ‘The mad fool with half chewed locusts in his beard and ideas like a watery lunatic on the run?’ ‘NO,’ Andrew says, ‘someone else.’ ‘Fool,’ says Simon but his brother’s right on it, not letting that reply get him down. ‘You don’t know, you haven’t met him. Yet.’ ‘And I’m not going to, thanks,’ Simon snaps. ‘Why not,’ his brother says, ‘come now, he wants to meet you.’ Simon rolls his eyes and rearranges the nets that don’t need rearranging. ‘Andrew I am not… like you,’ he growls, ‘I’m not looking for small-minded religion to satisfy my cravings.’ ‘Neither am I, neither is he.’ Simon looks at the flushed cheeks, the grin on his brother’s wide mouth, the undeniable hope. Poor thing. ‘You know how the Pharisees are always telling us to behave right?’ Andrew says, ‘and how the priests are all worried about how you look, and what your background is, and if you’re all sorted out? He isn’t. He’s not like that. He makes you feel better when you hang around him, makes you feel like you could go places you’ve never been, do things you couldn’t do. Honestly, he’s alive in the way I’ve never seen before. It’s contagious. He looks at you and it’s like he sees right into you…’ Peter sneers. ‘Like I want that,’ he mutters. ‘No!’ Andrew grabs him now by the collar, ‘you’re not hearing me! You’re doing exactly what you accuse others of doing. You’re judging him without knowing him. He’s not like anyone I’ve ever met before. He doesn’t care about saying the right things to please others, or fitting in, or playing false social games, or trying to out do other people. It’s like there’s a whole other life burning in him, and he doesn’t try and shove it at you, it just spills out of him. Like the best kind of food and drink. I promise, you meet him once and you won’t stay away. He’ll take one look at you and see in you more than you’ve ever seen yourself. More than you thought was ever possible. What do you say? Will you give him a chance?’

John 1 vv 35-42

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