The Danger of Assumptions
I catch the bus of a morning into work. It is full of workers coming into the city and high school students. By the time I get on it is standing room only, the high school students all have a seat while the adults stand.
As you can imagine this gets up the nose of many of the adults and so comments can be overheard “young people these days have no manners, they should give their seats to the older people”, “when I was a child it is what we did”, “My kids know to give up their seat!” Now I must say for the sake of the students reputations, that there are students who will give up their seats, but this is not the point of my writing.
What strikes me is the assumption that the students actually know and understand that this might be the right thing to do.
The passing on of values to the next generation is important. However, the danger is the assumption that people, young people will just understand, will just pick it up. Isn’t it just commonsense or too basic to have to repeat over and over again?
I remember a conversation that I had with a student who was studying holiness with their Bible study. Instead of having a conversation about an aspect of their Christian life, the study was becoming burdensome for the student. They had turned holiness into a requirement, part of what was needed for God to accept them.
They’d not understood the love shown to us, the acceptance that is possible because of Jesus Christ and that holiness is a response to this.
It seems that the Apostle Paul in his letters was never worried about being to repetitive about what we might think are the basics. No matter the audience, Paul continues to repeat the gospel, the good news of Jesus his death and resurrection. He never seems to assume knowledge or a full understanding of the basics.
For those whom we serve in our ministries there is nothing more valuable for us to pass on to them. Jesus’ death and resurrection from which actions of service and generosity will come, is what we must pass on to the next generation.
Diocesan Ministry Assistant
St David’s Cathedral, Hobart
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