Strings, vacuuming and above all, suffering…

Over the last few days I have been suffering the most ghastly levels of pain. The pain is in my lower back – I want to tell you that it is a result of an injury sustained scoring the winning try playing Rugby, or as part of an intrepid mountain rescue team – saving someone in peril, abseiling, skiing a black run, husky racing, doing the Tuff Mudder anything other than the truth, the truth which seems utterly unbelievable, my injury, an injury that resulted in the most pain I have ever experienced in my entire life was sustained whilst hoovering – I know; I ask myself the same question, what on earth was I doing hoovering in the first place? What adds insult to injury is that I wasn’t even really doing the hoovering properly; I was sort of lazily pushing the thing about the living room completely preoccupied by the silly question ‘ in String Theory, what does it mean to say the point like points of particles interact with each other in one dimension?’ (I think that was what I was thinking but really like String Theory – who cares?) When, as I turned the corner of the coffee table I felt a pain that resulted with me lying flat on the floor for three hours unable to get up or to move at all.

While I was laying on the floor in complete agony and unable to move, in a moment of complete sorrow I thought to myself, what would Jesus do? I concluded he probably wouldn’t dial 111 because he wouldn’t need to; neither would He have whinged as proficiently as I. I did conclude however, that whilst the idea of Jesus suffering back pain doesn’t really seem particularly valid, I do know that in fact Jesus very well knew pain and suffering – Jesus was killed in the most awful of ways, crucified so that we might see the Cross as something that speaks ‘for us’ in the vicarious atonement it offers, but also ‘against us’ when we consider the continued pain and suffering of the world. The Cross is a constant and powerful reminder that Christians are working for the Kingdom of God, which will be perfect, but it so evidently not yet, the world for many still despite all modern advances and wealth a place of injustice, hardship, poverty and neglect.

What would Jesus do? We all know the answer; He would give up everything, even His life in agony and pain to see each of us have a chance of living in paradise, a gift truly undeserved but never- the-less on the table – a paradox isn’t it? God loving us so much He would suffer pain and humiliation just so that we might know He loves us – so what should we do? Well I cannot help but finish with the beautiful Benediction from the Prayer Book, ‘Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast to that which is good, render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the faint hearted, support the weak, help the afflicted, honour everyone, and be very; very, careful hoovering. Amen.

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