September 2016 November - Remember Who You Are

Remember who you are

            I arrived at Dalry Train station, along with Lorna, at about 8.55 am. We were expecting to catch a train at 9.02am to Glasgow Central, where we would change and catch yet another train, for which we had pre-booked tickets, to travel to our final destination further north.

            I made my way to the automatic ticket machine on the platform where I planned to buy “off-peak” returns to Glasgow, only to discover that the machine would not sell these until 9am. This left a rather narrow window of opportunity to complete the transaction before the train arrived (for the arithmetically challenged - 2 minutes). Ignoring the advice of my wife to wait and buy tickets on the train, (and there is a view that ignoring Lorna’s advice is the single greatest cause of the problems I have faced in life through 33 years of marriage), I attempted to buy the tickets. No sooner had I committed to using the machine, than it was announced that our train was now arriving. Duly flustered, I bought the wrong tickets - two very expensive all day singles. This would mean that I would have to buy two more expensive single tickets to return home later that day. Added up, this would be a somewhat pricey journey to and from Glasgow. (At this point Lorna’s eyes were strangely distracted by something very high in the sky…..)

            I confessed my mistake to the nice ticket inspector on the train and she kindly explained that whilst she could not correct things on the train, if I presented myself thereafter at the Ticket Office in Central Station then they would refund my tickets and issue me with the correct ones.

            I could now happily continue the journey, smiling smugly at Lorna, confident that a minor error would quickly (and inexpensively) be rectified. We men can sort stuff!

            On arrival at Central Station, I duly, and with some degree of assured enthusiasm, made my way to the Ticket Office. There, I explained my muddle with tickets and duly surrendered the receipt provided by the Dalry Ticket Machine, offering the smile of a man unreasonably sure of what would happen next.

             ‘I need the tickets themselves’ came the abrupt and entirely unexpected reply. Somewhat bewildered, I explained that I was this side of the platform ticket barrier, having surrendered those very tickets at the barrier - doing so being the only legitimate means of escape from the platform. ‘I can’t do anything without your tickets,’ came the abrupt reply. For a while the conversation became a sterile version of Groundhog Day, with each episode ending in the sentence ‘I can’t do anything without the tickets.

            Further, and more imaginative, probing on my part broke the cycle and elicited the explanation that I should not have used the tickets at the barrier but instead spoken to the staff at the barrier before coming through, in order to retain my tickets. Protesting that this was not what the kindly ticket inspector on the train had instructed me to do was met with the somewhat remarkable reply, ‘But they don’t understand how ticketing works.’ After we went in circles for a while, I was told that I would only get a refund if I could recoup my tickets from the ticket barrier (interesting idea), the receipt not being sufficient as proof of purchase. We had returned, rather disappointingly, to, ‘I can’t do anything without the tickets.’

            Lorna quietly led me away by the arm. There may have been something said about the importance of listening to wifely advice from time to time.

            In the midst of this exchange, it occurred to me that there was a danger of me becoming, how might I put it, moderately irritated. At that point I had to remind myself of something that is very, very important for a Christian - I had to remember who I am. I had to remember to conduct the conversation as if I was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the statement ‘I follow Jesus’ or ‘I am a Christian’ and act accordingly. If I wore such a T-shirt all the time, how might it affect my behaviour? Everyone would know that I am a Christian. More importantly, I would be reminded that I follow Jesus - I would be reminded of who I am.

            In the midst of this exchange, it occurred to me that there was a danger of me becoming, how might I put it, moderately irritated. At that point I had to remind myself of something that is very, very important for a Christian - I had to remember who I am. I had to remember to conduct the conversation as if I was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the statement ‘I follow Jesus’ or ‘I am a Christian’ and act accordingly. If I wore such a T-shirt all the time, how might it affect my behaviour? Everyone would know that I am a Christian. More importantly, I would be reminded that I follow Jesus - I would be reminded of who I am.

            In the midst of this exchange, it occurred to me that there was a danger of me becoming, how might I put it, moderately irritated. At that point I had to remind myself of something that is very, very important for a Christian - I had to remember who I am. I had to remember to conduct the conversation as if I was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the statement ‘I follow Jesus’ or ‘I am a Christian’ and act accordingly. If I wore such a T-shirt all the time, how might it affect my behaviour? Everyone would know that I am a Christian. More importantly, I would be reminded that I follow Jesus - I would be reminded of who I am.

            In the midst of this exchange, it occurred to me that there was a danger of me becoming, how might I put it, moderately irritated. At that point I had to remind myself of something that is very, very important for a Christian - I had to remember who I am. I had to remember to conduct the conversation as if I was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the statement ‘I follow Jesus’ or ‘I am a Christian’ and act accordingly. If I wore such a T-shirt all the time, how might it affect my behaviour? Everyone would know that I am a Christian. More importantly, I would be reminded that I follow Jesus - I would be reminded of who I am.

            In our everyday lives it is important to remember that we are followers of Jesus, as those who are no longer in darkness but in the ‘light of the Lord’ and so should ‘live as children of light’ (Ephesians 5:8). Paul reminds us in his letter to the Church in Ephesus that we ought to think carefully how we should live, precisely because of who we are. Life lived in the Spirit does not take place in some contemplative bubble away from the trials and pressures and frustrations of life, but is lived in the ordinary rough and tumble of daily life. It is life lived amidst the frustration of crowded buses, late trains and difficult work colleagues. That is why Paul writes about life lived ‘in the Spirit’ to the Ephesians and immediately deals with marriage relationships and work relationships and so on. We are to be ‘filled with the Spirit’ which is the equivalent of ‘allowing the Word of God to dwell in you richly,’ remembering who we are.

            The woman in the Ticket Office in Central Station was simply doing her job. Whilst she might have made more effort to be helpful, perhaps she was carrying all manner of hurts and disappointments and worry, about which I know nothing and which were possibly leading her to simply want me to go away and leave her enjoying a quiet life. She was as much entrapped as I was by the way Scotrail is organised. For all I know, she may regularly go home in tears because of the that things unreasonable, bad tempered, foul-mouthed passengers might say to her about a system over which she has no control. Here was a Christian in front of her (me) and he ought to treat her with respect as a precious human being, made in God’s image.

            Besides, if I had only listened to my wife’s advice, the whole episode need never have happened…. I feel somewhat obliged to note that!

            The important thing amidst life’s frustrations and grievances is to remember who you are, and to heed Paul’s advice to be careful how we live.

            Apparently King George V would repeatedly tell his sons, ‘My boys remember who you are’. As royalty, they were to adjust their behaviour to take account of their identity. This is equally true for believers. Remember who you are and be who you are. In each episode in life, however exasperating or difficult, remember who you are.

            Apparently King George V would repeatedly tell his sons, ‘My boys remember who you are’. As royalty, they were to adjust their behaviour to take account of their identity. This is equally true for believers. Remember who you are and be who you are. In each episode in life, however exasperating or difficult, remember who you are.

            Apparently King George V would repeatedly tell his sons, ‘My boys remember who you are’. As royalty, they were to adjust their behaviour to take account of their identity. This is equally true for believers. Remember who you are and be who you are. In each episode in life, however exasperating or difficult, remember who you are.

            Apparently King George V would repeatedly tell his sons, ‘My boys remember who you are’. As royalty, they were to adjust their behaviour to take account of their identity. This is equally true for believers. Remember who you are and be who you are. In each episode in life, however exasperating or difficult, remember who you are.

            Yours duly humbled,

            Martin Thomson

           

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