Armidale Faith Matters: Head and shoulders above the rest

How do you get to the front or the top?: It might be that you are building on the achievements of others, or that you are stepping on them to get there.

How do you get to the front or the top?: It might be that you are building on the achievements of others, or that you are stepping on them to get there.

As I opened my computer this morning, this article was on my list for completion.

So, as the computer sparked into action and a google picture filled my screen, I had a bit of a laugh along with a thought for what you now read.

In a sea of penguins that all looked the same, one had climbed above the pack with all attention drawn to him.

I guess I could have seen that penguin as standing on the shoulders of all the great penguins that had gone before. An appreciative penguin building on the strong foundations of others.

I could also have seen that penguin negatively as climbing over the top of all the others to be above the rest. The kind of penguin that cares for no one but themselves.

My meditation on penguins at this point is beginning to reflect something very human.

Some of us stand appreciatively on the shoulders of great ones who have gone before us, while others consider themselves standouts among the people they stomped and shut down.

In my experience, the first is thankful for the past, loved in the present and inspires others to great things in the future. The second ends up hated, despised and lonely.

Perhaps that penguin was lifted up by other adoring penguins. Maybe he was about to be pulled down by other aspirants to his high position. If I were a penguin I know which one I would prefer to be.

History is filled with those who have stood above the pack. Fidel Castro died November 25, 2016.

After nearly a century of life, we see the fall of one who stood above the pack, established in his place by the power of fear. Around his feet the carnage of lost and displaced lives.

God will judge Castro.  The Bible speaks a reminder: “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

December brings with it the celebration of one who stood above the crowd.

He was born in humility, in stable surrounds, accompanied by angels. His life was one of service, His death offering forgiveness from God and His power in rising from the dead the promise of life beyond it.

On December 25, we will celebrate the birth of the one who will never be forgotten. The one who offered us two commands: the first “to love the Lord your God with all heart, soul, mind and strength”; and the second which is like it, “to love your neighbour as yourself”.

If you get the first wrong, the second is doomed to failure. We may not be penguins, but we can all stand on the shoulders of Jesus’ accomplishments for better tomorrows.

See you in church on Christmas Day to celebrate the gifts of God.

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