God's Word for today

Friday, 4 September 2009

Barry Marshall - turning the other cheek

Yesterday morning we had a staff meeting in which we discussed Jesus' instruction to His followers to "turn the other cheek". This instruction is hotly debated, as people often see this as a sign of submission - almost as though christians are expected to roll over and play dead in the face of adversity.

But Baden offered a different take on this concept, indicating that in Jewish custom, if a person struck you across the face with the back of the hand, this was a sign of contempt. Turning the other cheek therefore meant that the person being hit was actually standing up to their attacker, in effect saying that if the person is to strike them, then do so as an equal.

I was immediately taken back to a discussion that we had in one of our Phase One sessions earlier this year, when Barry Marshall (our District Supervisor of Studies) was taking us through an exegetical exercise using this very same subject of turning the other cheek. And I remember Barry's strong statement that turning the other cheek is not an act of weakness, but one of strength - where the person being struck is standing tall with dignity.

Having spoken about Barry in the morning, I felt as though I had been slapped across the face when I heard the sad news that Barry's life had been tragically cut short in a boating accident.

I didn't know Barry that well, and most of my contact with him was through his blog and posts on various discussion groups. He enjoyed a good argument. Brash and arrogant to some, he stood up strongly for what he believed, "turning the other cheek" to his detractors. And, like Jenny, I would have liked to have got to know Barry better as a person. Because if our exegesis classes proved anything about Barry's character, it's that he can have a good ol' ding-dong argument with you and still be friends afterwards. One can learn SO much from a person like that!

So take some time to read through some of the posts on Barry's blog. You may not necessary agree with everything he has written, but one thing's for sure - he makes you think! And that legacy will live on.

"b", you will be sorely missed!

No comments: