DAY 94: Saturday 20 June
Good morning all
At 21.43 this evening we reach the Summer Solstice which lasts until 04.43 Sunday morning making tonight the shortest night of the year. The solstice also marks the beginning of astronomical Summer which lasts until 22 September. A ring of fire eclipse of the sun will occur tonight although not visible from the UK, and tomorrow will be the longest day of the year with extra seconds of daylight between sunrise and sunset. Because of coronavirus the usual ancient pagan festival celebration at Stonehenge has been officially cancelled although I suspect there will still be many people turning up.
For today’s theme I am recycling a piece I wrote 4 months ago for the Sutton Observer Living Faith column. I realise those of us who live on and around Falcon Lodge no longer get the Observer through our doors and to those of you who do get the weekly paper, maybe you won’t remember this being published back in February.
Back in the mid 60’s I was working in central London and my commute home each evening I would walk through Piccadilly to Leicester Square Tube station. Along the route there would be men with stands selling newspapers and often they would shout out “Extra! Extra!”
‘Extra’ implies ‘additional’ or ‘beyond normal’ so retailers advertise extra discounts, or an undecided football match will go into extra time. Students engage in extra-curricular activities and sadly too often we hear of people falling into extra-marital relationships.
February is the shortest month of the year but this year we got an ‘extra’ day because it’s leap year, a practice dated back to Julius Caesar from 45BC.
So ‘Extra’ is very much part of our lives and often our expectation. No longer prepared to settle for ‘normal’ we want more – the extra helping of food on the plate or extra dollop of whipped cream on the cake, the extra excitement craved by thrill-seekers or the extra features and equipment on a new car or piece of tech.
‘Going the extra mile’ is an phrase often used although I sometimes how many people who utter those words realise it is actually part of Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount where he says ‘If anyone forces you to go a mile with them, go the extra mile’ (Matt. 5:31). It was common practice at the time for Roman soldiers to force a member of the public to carry heavy gear for them.
This practice was dramatically portrayed on the way to Calvary when a man from the crowd was forced by the soldiers to carry Jesus’ cross. Understandably this practice was hated by the Jewish people not least because the Romans were an occupation force and were certainly not welcome. Here Jesus was teaching “go beyond, go the extra mile without complaining”.
There are many opportunities when we can help others who are suffering from war and famine or other tragedy, sickness, loneliness, poverty or homelessness. We may get personally involved, or we support others on the front line of caring. Volunteering is also a good example of ‘going the extra mile’ because nobody is compelling us. We do what we do through a sense of love and compassion and a desire to help, support and encourage.
The past 3 months of coronavirus has also demonstrated in so many ways how people from all parts of our society have gone the extra mile for somebody else, such as Captain Tom, thousands of NHS workers, charity volunteers etc. And of course, whilst all of us have been forced to spend extra time at home, you have all been showing extra love and care to others in our church family, especially those that have been completely isolated for the past 12 weeks.
Here's a Hymnalong track for today >>> THIS IS THE DAY
NEWS: - No news updates received to report for today
Don’t forget to check your email tomorrow morning and link to our virtual service for Father’s Day which hopefully won’t experience the problem in the above cartoon….