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Showing posts from March, 2007

The Abolition of Slavery

The two scripture readings which were chosen to mark the anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade present us with some problems. The Old Testament passage[1] is an ancient version of the story of the Passover, when God killed all the first-born males of Egypt as a terrible warning to Pharaoh that he must set the people of Israel free. Actually, the passage doesn't quite make it clear whether it was only first-born males who were killed at the Passover, or whether it was first-born males and females, but be that as it may, the people of Israel were told that in future they must set apart all their first-born male animals as offerings to the Lord, and they must redeem their first-born male children and donkeys by offering an animal as a sacrifice instead.Let's overlook the question of why donkeys were so lucky; the passage goes on to recount the fateful moment when the waters of the Red Sea crashed down upon the panicking Egyptian army while it was pursuing the es…

Missing out on the Spiritual Trolley Dash

The other night we were watching a film about someone trekking across a barren desert in the searing heat of the midday sun. Improbably, at first, he was wearing an overcoat, but he soon got rid of that. After a short time his face was covered with blisters and he could barely walk any longer. He was just like the psalmist, who said, 'My flesh faints ... as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.'[1]But, at long last, he got the chance to drink some water. And it was then that someone said to him, 'Don't drink too much. It's not good for you!'This reminded me that years ago, when I was about eleven, I read the novel 'King Solomon's Mines' by H Rider Haggard and one of the characters in the novel says something similar. Rider Haggard describes a man who had been so long without water that 'his lips were cracked, and his tongue, which protruded between them, was swollen and blackish.' His rescuer gives him quite a lot of water actuall…