Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Of course all our current disputes in the Church of England boil down to how we interpret scripture. Interestingly, Jesus gives us a lesson on interpreting scripture in Luke 10. He quotes scripture saying 'Love your neighbour as yourself' and is then asked what the word neighbour means. If you look the word up in the dictionary you get 'a person who lives near or next to another' but Jesus, through the parable of the Good Samaritan, gives the word the broadest and most big-hearted definition imaginable - to include any fellow human being including our enemies. Surely there is something we might learn here with respect to interpretation - and apply ourselves?
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Friday, 1 May 2009
i've been reflecting on John 14:6 - the infamous verse that has been interpreted to mean that non-Christians have no hope of salvation. (whatever salvation is - but that's another matter.)
An image came to mind of Christ saying 'i am the way, the truth, the ground on which you walk to God' and a picture of Christ physically laying down His life and becoming the ground for us to walk to God on. this felt quite powerful - in underlining the sacrificial nature of Christ's love for us. And also leaving things much more open in terms or who and how different people might be making their way towards God.
I meet Andrew on Monday. He tells me he has been visiting Adam and i immediately feel guilty.
Adam is someone i put Andrew in touch with. He has some serious problems and needs a lot of pastoral care - something i realise i could not, or did not want to, give myself. Andrew, i think, has found it equally difficult to do this. But he has. He has been visiting Adam weekly. they read the Bible together. Nothing miraculous has happened yet. progress is painfully slow. A man who has not been loved for decades, who has no real friends, cannot be healed in an instant. But the love of Christ - shown to him by Andrew - is the only hope and i believe will be bringing healing. obviously at some considerable cost to Andrew.
we talked about it and Andrew said the story of Legion comes to his mind. Legion is an outcast. everyone has given up on him. He is tormented by many demons and quite frankly he is scary - and so has been chained up. Nonetheless, Christ heals him. He is not beyond hope.
this experience has shown me clearly that our calling to help the oppressed and marginalised is not all about visiting nice old ladies and tea and sympathy. it's about doing things we really don't want to do - like, perhaps, befriending people we don't even like much at first. But bringing the love of Christ into their lives. And ultimately learning ourselves that Christ lovesus all, even (and perhaps, especially) the man called Legion.
Andrew said, 'You know he's had a rotten life. And he can be really difficult and angry. But i've actually come to like him.'
what can i say? But thank God for Andrew - for Andrew being Christ in this situation. And praying for the courage and the open-heartedness to do the same - next time God presents me with such a challenge. As He surely will!