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Imagining the Lectionary: Extreme Discipleship (Proper 25A; Ordinary 30A)

Reflection accompanying images “extreme at hull fair” and “extreme ride at hull fair

 'Extreme' was one of the most popular rides at this years Hull Fair. Its clientele consisted mainly of teenagers and young adults who queued up to be strapped in and whirled up, down and around at dizzyingly high speed. All around the perimeter of the ride its name shone out in brightly lit deep red lettering, leaving no one in any doubt as to what to expect once they paid their money and stepped beyond the steel safety barrier.  Being taken to the extremes of our experience and feeling the buzz is something many actively seek today, be it ever more thrilling rides at the Fair or the 'living on the edge' excitement of extreme sports. However for others this is the very epitome of what they will avoid at all costs. And that is before we consider the undesirable connotations of the word 'extremist' itself, not least when applied to religion. So is there a valuable sense to the word 'extreme' which might catch our attention as disciples of Jesus, just as the red neon sign caught my eye as we walked around Hull Fair  If we imagine for a moment the mutterings that accompanied Jesus as he ministered and taught about the Kingdom of God, the phrase 'That's a bit extreme isn't it ' comes to mind.

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