Mark 9 v 38 – 41. / John 19 v 6 – 16
Eric the frog sat at the edge of the garden pond, looking across the water to the other side. Eric had started to become a regular visitor to the pond and had incorporated his visits into his daily routine of touring around the garden. He liked to hop onto a pot of a water grass plant at one end of the pond, where he would sit under the overhanging fronds and enjoy being cool in the mid -day summer sun. The pond had a solar powered water fountain and the mist from the spray helped to keep him cool as it drifted across towards his grassy haven. An added bonus was the occasional fly or other insect that trespassed too close to the water grass pot and gave Eric a free meal. It was the perfect place for a young frog, until today.
Today was different. Across the pond, looking directly at Eric was another frog.
It was a type of frog that was unfamiliar to Eric and he had never seen one like it before. It was the same shape as Eric but it was a different colour, Eric was brown but this frog was bright green and had a glossy skin and bright red eyes.
The stranger was motionless and Eric recognised the defensive stance that it had adopted. It was something Eric had used himself in similar situations, when you feel threatened; you freeze and keep as still as you can be, you don’t move a muscle and then no one can see you. That was just what the green frog was doing, so Eric did just the same and the two frogs stared at each other motionless across the pond.
After a while Eric started to get bored. How can that disgusting green foreign frog sit for so long without moving? Eric couldn’t help but notice that there was also a fly perched on the end of the stranger’s nose right between its bright red eyes.
It was time to make a move. Eric summand all his strength and pushed off with his powerful back legs. He launched into an enormous leap onto the water grass pot. He quickly buried himself under the overhanging grass stems and peered out to see where the intruder had moved to. It hadn’t moved anywhere in fact it hadn’t moved.at all, and neither had the fly on the end of its nose.
This is all wrong, thought Eric, this is a brown frog pond and green frogs should keep away and go back to their own ponds, after all Eric would never think of invading their pond, even if he knew where that may be. But Eric had to admire the green frog’s self =control, that fly on the end of its nose looked very tasty.
Cautiously and stealthily, Eric moved from the water grass pot onto the side of the pond and approached the green adversary. He moved alongside but the green frog never moved a muscle.
Now full of confidence, Eric addressed the newcomer and said, ‘I say old chap, if that fly on the end of your nose is annoying you, I can remove it if you wish’. There was no reply, so Eric swiftly flicked out his tongue, captured the fly and devoured it in a flash. Still the green frog never moved.
Eric was starting to feel more comfortable with this new inhabitant and felt he was getting to know him better, even though he didn’t move and didn’t talk, at least he did not pose any threat. In fact Eric was beginning to admire the green skin and red eyes.
Over the next few weeks the two frogs became quite good friends. Eric would visit the pond and sit under the water grass, and his green friend would sit motionless on the side of the pond. The two never argued, and the green frog never tried to move, but they were always there for each other, and occasionally they would share the odd fly that landed on the green frog’s nose between its bright red eyes.
How many times in the scriptures do we read about individuals not been accepted into the community?
Jesus chose to use the Samaritan to be the saviour of the beaten man at the side of the road. The Samaritans were not accepted by the Jews and the Jews would not talk or eat or drink with a Samaritan.
This gives even more impact to the account of Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman at the well where he not only spoke to her but also accepted a drink from her, an act that turned tradition and racial prejudice on its head.
In Paul’s letters he constantly appeals to the believers for harmony and inclusion of all races and people. He strives to unite Jews and Gentiles under the grace of God and the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Even the disciples were corrected by Jesus for describing a man who was driving out demons as being, ‘Not one of our group.’
But it was Jesus himself that suffered the harshest exclusion from the people he came to save. The echo of, ‘Crucify him,’ reverberates throughout history as the condemnation of an innocent man to death, so that we can all live.
Eric had another fright recently. A monstrosity appeared on the side of the pond. It had a red pointed head, a yellow chest, and a blue back. It had a strange bearded red face and held a stick with a piece of string that dangled into the water.
It also now calls the pond home; obviously it has no other gnome to go to.