Who doesn’t like jelly babies? I am certain there will always be some who don’t like them yet many do. I was re-introduced to them as a young minister in the Hull area. Each Christmas morning there were two bags waiting to be shared by the congregation as they left after worshipping. Since that time it has been a habit that I have taken with me each time I have moved in ministry. Having said that I have been challenged about how appropriate it was to eat a (jelly) baby on Christmas morning – make your own mind up here.
Having said that the big question always used to be “Do you eat the head first or the legs?” Some would gleefully proclaim the head was the preferred first bite. However I also remember there was a well-known footballer called Norman Hunter at the time who was well known for his hard tackling which led to many a placard which proclaimed “Norman Hunter bites yer legs!” Hence some, in honour of him, bit off the legs first. Ultimately I just pop the whole thing in.
Recently I saw one of those online comparison quizzes that posed the question “What sort of sweet (candy) are you?” (bracketed equivalent for any US readers). The choice ran to jelly baby, chocolate covered nuts and raisins, boiled fruit sweets, liquorice all sorts and one other that I don’t remember. However, subconsciously, I thought to myself that I’m an all-sort, just as Paul spoke of to the Corinthian Christians in his first letter. He wrote ”I become all things to all men” (1 Corinthians 9:22)
The Psalmist wrote “Taste and see the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8), like Paul to be all things to all men is important. To talk to others at their level of interest means to find out their hobbies/skills and start there. For example if they’re keen anglers to speak of the disciples who were firstly fishermen and later were called as “Fishers of men”. For me its easy when I discover others are interested in railways, scale model or 12” to the foot gauge for the encouragement to “train up a child in the way” (Proverbs 22:6) goes a long way. Just remember the words of the hymn-writer Isaac Watts:
“Sweet is the work, my God, my king,
to praise your name, give thanks, and sing..”
John Pugh (Rev) Wymeswold Methodist