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Place value

On a recent trip up to Scotland in bad weather, I needed to top up the screen-wash in my vehicle due to the excessive amount of salt on the roads being thrown up onto the windscreen. I was frustrated at having to pay £9 at the motorway service station for exactly the same sized container of exactly the same stuff that would cost me £4.50 at the local supermarket!

It got me thinking about the reasons for the difference. Of course, the reason for the price discrepancy in screen-wash is the same as the reason we pay over the odds for other ‘essentials’ at these places. Petrol is an obvious example. Even water, H2O, is not exempt! The same half litre plastic bottle of the stuff might cost £1 in the supermarket, £4 at the service station, and £8 at the airport. The reason is simple: place. The value we are willing to assign to a thing differs according to where it is!

I wonder if the same is true of people. Are there places that we can go where we are treated with less value than in other places? I think there are. I realised some years ago that I cannot get away from myself. Everywhere I go, I am there. I get up with myself, go to bed with myself, and I am with myself all of the time in between. Therefore, I need to learn to be at ease with myself and comfortable in my own skin. And I also need to take control of where I put myself.

At our youth church we are learning that our value comes from God, and does not change wherever we go, or whomever we associate with, despite what they may say about us, for all time. We have been struck that at His Baptism, Jesus received His identity from God: “You are my Son.” And God says the same to us as His voice echoes through the centuries telling us we are His children. Our identity is secure. The next thing God says is: “Whom I love.” What is that? Acceptance. We are aware that many young people today are injecting all sorts of toxins into their veins, sleeping around and making all kinds of silly choices because they are looking for acceptance in all the wrong places. If we receive our acceptance from God, we understand our true value. Finally, God says: “In You I am well pleased.” This is God’s approval. I think it is not insignificant that at this stage of His ministry Jesus hasn’t said or done anything worthy of note at all. Yet God loves him unconditionally anyway. And the same is true of each one of us too. Our identity, acceptance and approval come from God. It we can get this, really get this, we simply don’t need it from anywhere else.

We are determined that our youth church will be a place where all young people can come and know they loved, be accepted unconditionally and find their true identity in God. In some ways, our youth church is more like a motorway service station than a supermarket, insofar as our children learn to appreciate how much they cost: the blood of the Saviour, the Son of Almighty God Himself who died in our place. You cannot get more valuable than that.

“And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’”
Mark 1:11

Mr Pountain
Head of Religious Education / Director of Spirituality