I went out shopping on Saturday morning. I had a simple task – to find and buy ‘Strawberry Laces’ (wait and see).
Once inside each supermarket, I felt a surge of something like anxiety, as I wondered what else I should be buying – what bargains there were and what I would miss if I didn’t get them there and then.
There were 2 for 1 offers. And sweets at reduced prices which I could buy and store away for our ‘Birthday Box’ (which we bring out each Sunday to celebrate any birthdays in the congregation). There was 25% off the herbal teas Janet likes. The smell of freshly baked bread was enticing and I always like to see what’s on offer in the beer section. And it’s usually worth a look in the reduced price food near its sell-by date.
Asda offered a poor substitute called ‘Rainbow Laces’ which I bought just in case I couldn’t find the real thing. Four supermarkets and three sweet shops later, I was delighted, and relieved, to find Strawberry Laces very close to home in Sainsburys.
They later made for a very popular activity at Messy Church with other fun (but only slightly less unhealthy) ingredients!
Jesus said (well he might …) “The kingdom of God is like a man who goes shopping …”
Only one thing is needed but many other things catch his eye ….
Sometimes he is contented with poor substitutes ….
He spends his money on things he doesn’t need ….
He thinks what his elderly neighbour might need before he goes ….
What link would you make between shopping and the kingdom of God?
Some people have more money, and so more choice in what they buy, and shopping patterns painfully highlight inequality. People who can buy in bulk, when items are cheap, get the best bargains, but they are the ones needing the bargains least.
We all have to shop or get someone to do it for us. What we buy, and how we shop, says a lot about us. Healthy eating, fair trading, avoiding waste, limiting plastic use – all these and more revolve around our shopping habits. And not just in shops but in everything we buy online (a choice in itself) and not just food, but holidays, cars, clothes, houses. And all of course have an effect on our planet, its limited resources and increasing temperature.
To know that the kingdom of God has come in Jesus, and is coming in Jesus and will come in Jesus is all we need. Everything else is just window dressing. Let’s not get distracted by it!
With much love