Monthly Archives: June 2018
Danger at the Boundary (Jonah 1; Mark 4:35-41)
From time to time, I mention books that I have found useful in my life in teaching and preaching,. As I look back, I find that most of these have not been, strictly speaking, about biblical studies nor pastoral work, or, even necessarily religious books. I think I have mentioned before that one such book is the slim volume called Purity and Danger by the late British social anthropologist Mary Douglas. In this book Professor Douglas discussed how various cultures have defined what is “clean” or “safe” to do, and what is “unclean” or “dangerous” to do. One of the… Continue reading
You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover (1 Samuel 16:1-13; 2 Corinthians 5:6-7,14-21; Mark 4:26-34)
When I was a boy, one of the things my parents taught me was the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” which, of course, means that sometimes outer appearances are deceiving. What may seem humble and unassuming on the outside, may be wonderful and rich on the inside. This applies to actual books, of course, but also to people, places and things. The reverse may also be true, that what seems attractive and even flashy on the outside may be twisted and harmful on the inside.
I traced the saying back into the 19th century, but, surprisingly,… Continue reading
The Reconciling Good News (Ezekiel 37:15-23; Ephesians 2:11-13; Matthew 5:43-48)
The Reconciling Good News (Ezk. 37:15-23; Eph. 2:11-13; Mt. 5::43-48)
A short time ago we looked at the first half of Ezekiel chapter 37 as an Old Testament Lesson. It’s that strangely rich vision of the Valley of Dry Bones. I suggested to you that the main point was that God is able to bring individuals and communities back from their graves literally, figuratively, and missionally. Today, we are back in Ezekiel 37, looking at what God does next after bringing dry bones back to life.
Now, Ezekiel was not the most “usual” chap in the roll-call of Israel’s prophets.… Continue reading
Number One Priority (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; James 2:14-26; Matthew 6:24-33)
When Jesus was asked about the Greatest Commandment, do you remember what he answered? He said that folk were “to love God with all that is in them” (paraphrased from our Old Testament Lesson in Deuteronomy 6), and “to love our neighbours as intensely and with as much care as we love ourselves” (paraphrased from Leviticus 19). For those who follow Jesus these two are Policy from headquarters. Whatever else we do contextualizes either the love of God or the love of our neighbour. Today I want to think aloud about what it can mean for us to love God… Continue reading