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Showing posts from March, 2010

Redecorating Jesus

Philippians 3.4b-14, John 12.1-8

Christian men have always been in search of more forceful, more rugged expressions of their faith than 'gentle Jesus, meek and mild'. 'Thank God for testosterone,' as one American worship leader put it. On the other side of the fence, however, stands the "chick lit" version of Jesus, who is touchy feely and romanticised, the wounded healer, the person to whom we can cling for a deeper relationship and a true expression of what love really means. The danger of both extremes, of course, is that - as someone once said - 'they redecorate Jesus, in our own image'.

That's what Cynewulf's 'Dream of the Rood' does. Cynewulf was an Anglo-Saxon poet who wanted to glamourise the crucifixion for the warrior class who were in charge of ancient England at the time. This is how he describes Jesus being crucified. It's important to note that he is telling the story from the perspective of the tree from which the cros…

Our only certain good and great purpose on earth

1 Corinthian 10.12-13, Luke 12.6-9

Lent - the forty days, not including Sundays - before Easter was a very special time in Sandal and Wakefield for many centuries before our time. People just ate vegetables, fruit and bread - though whether they only drank water I'm not so sure because water wasn't always safe to drink, and people knew that.

My daughter's on a mainly vegetable diet, at the moment. She can't eat bread, because she can't eat yeast, but she can eat potatoes and rice - which hadn't been introduced to Europe yet in the Middle Ages. But she says she's still very hungry - despite piling mounds of vegetables on her plate at every meal. My son-in-law has lost 4lb in six days. So I guess fasting during Lent may have been a bit of an endurance test.

I was talking to the Cubs the other day, and we reminded ourselves that Muslims still take fasting very seriously, although Christians are more likely just to give something one or two things up for Lent, no…

Gerry Adams, Sir Nicholas Winterton and God's Compassion

Psalm 119, Jonah 3.1-10, Luke 18.9-14

The Psalmist recognises that we are made in the image of God and prays also, therefore, for a mind modelled on God's way of thinking and being. That's a huge request, bigger and more profound perhaps than the Psalmist realises. But more of that later.

The fact is, however, that living in the image of God is the only sure way that other people will be able to recognise that we are also made in God's image. When they see him in us they will be able to rejoice at the hope we have put in God's wisdom or creative word.

Like the Psalmist, we can rely on God's righteousness and faithfulness, be comforted by God's unfailing love and promises, and delight in his compassion and his instructions. And yet the Psalmist recognises that the way of the believer is not without affliction.

The Revised English Bible talks about being chastened by God, like a parent teaching children the right way to behave by being firm with them and thereby ke…