Good morning and happy new year to any chinese readers!

I said hello in chinese to a girl this morning

你好吗
Nǐ hǎo ma

Pronounced “knee how ma”

And when she replied “I’m Korean” I took it as a sign from God!!

“Great expectations” is of course a well known book, for many of us it is also a well known reality!

Society can put great expectations on us and if we take them on board we can then put great expectations on ourselves!

Only the other day I learnt that many young Japanese students commit suicide when their school grades drop.

What a sad reality!

In our western society great expectations are put on people too. Expectations to succeed, to excel, to be perfect!

Jesus understands the world of expectations only too well!

You see He suffered the consequences of not meeting people’s expectations more than anybody.

The Messiah was expected to be a powerful king, not a humble carpenter’s son!

He wasn’t expected to go about doing miracles and befriending lepers and prostitutes and so ultimately they killed him!

Other people’s expectations can become a prison for us if we let it. We can become prisoners of religiosity rather than prisoners of christ!

It wouldn’t take a genius to figure that if Jesus was alive today that He’d be friends too with sinners and lepers and those on the margins!

If He was in London I’m sure He’d be friends with all the gays and trans and that He’d love them and help them!

The good news is that Jesus is alive today! He is alive in me and you and He is as alive in us as we allow Him to be!

The more we allow Jesus to be alive in our lives the more we will unsettle other people and their expectations!

They will judge us and condemn us and accuse us of all sorts of things from heresy to sin!

So what should we do?!

Easy, follow Jesus and do it anyway!

And so today, no matter what your position, priest or bishop or just a simple nobody like me; let’s not be ensnared prisoners of other people’s expectations but rather let us be free children of God’s love and of His expectations for our lives!

Romans 12:3

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Have a free day!

Michael