Saturday, 27 January 2024 The Rev’d Ian Gow Minister:

 

Saturday, 27 January 2024

 

St Mark 3: 31 – 35

Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’

Reflection

I was born to the loving family of a passionate Congregationalist father and a German Jewish au pair who had lost the majority of her family during the Holocaust.

I had no idea after secondary school as to what to do but my parents encouraged me to study theology at New and Kings Colleges, London with a view to secondary school teaching, but upon graduation I found myself unsuited. My father came to the rescue and enabled me to secure an excellent executive position in the Home Civil Service, where I spent a further miserable seven years in office work.

In the not uncommon youthful revolt against parental advice I decided to abandon my education and trained as a bus driver in Central London (the happiest years of my life) to the near total relational breakdown and shame of the family.    

However, despite the fact that I had not fully appreciated the call to Christian ministry whilst at university, I had always felt content in the bosom of the faith in which I had been nurtured and following the customary candidating processes of the URC; finalised my training for NSM and thence ordination in September 2008.

The temporary breakdown in my family unit was not unlike the situation about which we read in Mark’s Gospel when Jesus broke his family bond and that of the symbolic family solidarity that was key to the Jewish sense of identity; his stance serving to dishonour the family name.

It is often easy to cling to the comfort of the close family and to adhere to their wishes as opposed to our own and to forget that to follow the life, spirituality  and teachings of Christ  often places us “at odds” with those we truly love.

My one regret is that my father died of Alzheimer’s two months before my ordination but whilst of sound mind appreciated that my sense of calling had been present from the earliest of days. 

Prayer 

Father God, we ask for your guidance and direction for our family members facing difficult decisions. We know that you are the source of all wisdom and promise to guide us when we seek you. Please give all family members clarity and discernment as they navigate challenging situations. Help them to trust in your plan and to follow your lead and find peace in knowing that you are with them every step of the way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Ian Gow Minister: Eltham United Reformed Church 

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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