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Nowhere to hide

“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Luke 9.58


In having "nowhere to lay his head", Jesus' predicament is reflected in various scenarios. Most obviously, homeless people have nowhere to lay their head. Itinerant travellers may feel like they have nowhere to lay their head. And busy people, in their seemingly constant availability, may reach the point of feeling like they have nowhere to lay their head. This last example may, itself, find expression in various manifestations: the harassed parent or the government official striving to cope in a crisis or the A&E medic after a large-scale emergency.


In exceptional circumstances it may be possible to endure having nowhere to lay one's head. Indeed it may be the making of a person, to rise to the challenge and discover gifts of resourcefulness, stamina and endurance they never knew they possessed. But eventually there will be a price to pay. So there is wisdom in knowing when enough is enough and how to extract oneself.


But what of those who cannot - either on account of their prominence or through poverty of opportunities? Here is where we need to look out for each other. Being able to offer someone under pressure or out of luck a break - whether that takes the form of a brief respite or a leg up - is like Mary's pouring oil on Jesus' feet and wiping them with her hair (John 12.3), or Jesus's himself taking the disciples away for some time out (Mark 6.31). On account of our belonging to Jesus and destined to be co-rulers in his eternal Kingdom, that feeling of not belonging where we are should be as common to believers as the yearning for that place which Jesus himself has promised to prepare for us (John 14.2).

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