Luke 17:22-37:- And he said to the disciples, "The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, 'Look, there!' Or 'Look, here!' Do not go out or follow them....And they said to him, "Where, Lord?" He said to them, "Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather." (ESV)

Here in Britain we have Herring Gulls. They have a piercing, laughing call that instantly evokes in me a sense of the seaside. In contrast, recent years have modified that image experienced as a child. One day a male herring gull swooped down, to take a chip (French Fries) out of my hand from the back railings on top of a large ferry, I looked into the cold eye of the seagull. They are definitely bigger and a bit scary up close!

Anyone eating "fish and chips" outside on the railings of a seaside promenade is definitely running the gauntlet of losing their meal, not to mention the scaring of any chip holding small children!

With the advent of large landfill sites, gulls have migrated inland. Consequently we have them here at the university where they play on the tops of the tall, cliff-like, buildings swooping down into our midst, onto the scraps that are dropped, or left out by the unsuspecting.

Herring gulls are opportunist scavengers with a strict pecking order, and they are ruthless bullies. They play who is the-king-of-the-castle to see who is the biggest and meanest. To the winner go the rewards. So, in similar manner, vultures fight over carrion in the Middle East.

As I understand it Jesus wants us to avoid the unnecessary contests of our cultures, in thought, word, and deed. Let us be wary of any who-is-the-king-of-the-castle disputes at work, home or church: my attire-car-house-church-meal-prayer-gift is more important, bigger, better than yours!

We have nothing to prove because we are all entitled by grace. We rejoice because the Holy Spirit abides in us. Yes, whilst it is still light, we can proclaim His Kingdom by being faithful and obedient to His call in thought, word, and deed.

Luke 9:60:- And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." (ESV)

PRAYER: LORD, help we have cozied up to the world again! We have envied others, or sought to climb the ladder, or dwelled overlong with pride on our successes. Please forgive us our blunders and pour Your eternal life back into our world-stained souls. Come Holy Spirit and dwell in our hearts, to grant in us a renewed Godly wisdom, joy and humility, in Jesus' name, amen.

Rod Marshal Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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