The headlines today are full again of people who have done ‘the wrong thing’. They have misled, abused, cheated, used power for selfish gain, and caused hurt, harm, and offence, and we know that this is not right. When watching news reports or reading people’s comments online it becomes clear, very quickly, that we have…
A hoard of 48 gold and silver items buried by a Viking Chieftain over a thousand years ago, was discovered in a field just outside the town where I live almost exactly 11 years ago today. The thought that there might be treasure to be found, just within our reach motivates us. The gospel writer Matthew recorded a saying of Jesus that has puzzled many people, when he described God’s kingdom as being like a treasure hidden in a field.
The year has changed but the demands and routines we left in 2022 will still be with us… Some of us will have paused at the change of the year and resolved to redirect our energies or review our habits… But the change from December to January did not bring peace to the people of Ukraine nor did it did not resolve the crisis in our NHS… Can we really hope for better days? Read on…
The unexpected knock, the sudden uncertainty, the surprised smiles, the rush of relief mixed with excitement. “You came!”
When you had given up thinking that they would come and were settled into the ache of the hope you could not let go of, that perhaps they might. When you had put the thing you had left by the door to give to them, back into the drawer with a mental note that you knew where it was, if that day ever came. When, in busy times you did not give the thought time to surface, but it did every time you paused, or looked out. That’s when it came…
As the son of a preacher my childhood Sundays were spent driving around the North Yorkshire Dales to cold chapels and warm kitchens. The smell of the hymnbooks, the wheezing of the harmonium, the sight of the tables spread with food, and the gentle earnestness and generous hospitality of the dales folk are still etched in my mind. Today most of the chapels are closed. Only last week, I helped to move furniture from one that held its last service just a month ago. This caring Christian presence at the heart of every community is disappearing fast.
What is more important to you, safety or goodness?
“Ooh!” said Susan… “Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“Safe?” said Mr Beaver;… “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
The idea that “good” might not be “safe”, and that “safe” is not automatically “good” comes as a surprise in today’s safety-conscious world, where safety has become synonymous with universal good. CS Lewis, however, had encountered the God of the Bible and used this experience to form the character of Aslan, the Lion-King of Narnia. The fact that so many children, and adults too, have been absorbed in, and enriched by the complex characters portrayed in his Narnian tales suggests that his characterisation describes a reality that resonates in human hearts and minds.
The writers of the bible, present us with a God who they are struggling to comprehend, let alone describe or interact with in a positive way.