Through the Bible in a Year – May 2nd

The scheme for May – June can be found here

Jdg 7-8; Mark 8; Psalm 3-4

Our Psalms offer us very contrasting prayers although one speaks to the other.

Psalm 3 we are told is of David, when he is fleeing from his son Absalom. The story of David and his son we will come to in time in our journey through the Old Testament – but for now it is enough to know that Absalom has staged a coup and David with a small band of those who have remained loyal have fled.

For the cast majority of those who read posts such as these it is hard to comprehend the depths of David’s loss and terror. His son has risen against him, his kingdom torn from his hand, and now he flees for his life. None of us can really know anything like this – yet in the midst his entire confidence is in God. He is both transcendent and imminent – a shield around him – and also the one who sustains him. God is his life, yes even David’s life.

Having said that we cannot know the depth of David’s predicament – who amongst us has every fled from those that seek to kill them – there is still as much disquiet in our hearts as if this were the case. The human creature often knows fear and distress which seems not to have a comparable external referent. And in the midst of this, Psalm 4 gives us wise wise counsel. For in the midst of the turbulence it is all too easy to be reactive and lash out against the ‘enemy’ – to ‘take the law into our own hands’, which is in effect to ‘take the name of the Lord in vain’.

The Psalmist calls us to a better path – a life giving path – ‘When you are disturbed, do not sin. Ponder it on your bed, and be still’

When our life is lived in the light of the knowledge of God, our perspective radically alters. We need not sin. It is the turbulence of our heart that is the very source of sin. ‘Trust in the lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding’ That is the path of Peace – of Shalom. Of discovering Home (your life is hid with Christ in God)

Through the Bible in a Year – March 20

The Scheme for March – April can be found here

Num 8-9; 2 Cor 3-4; Psalm 102

Paul gives us a beautiful picture of the Christian Life here

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

There are two brief things we might consider here

Firstly, once again, Paul has hard things to say to the Corinthians in the letter, yet at the same time he sees quite clearly the Life of Christ amongst them. The Life that he has proclaimed amongst them is now inscribed on their hearts.

Paul looks on the heart – he does not judge with the eye, he has learned to see as Christ sees.

What is more he sees the Christian Faith not in static terms but in terms of growth – extraordinarily ‘into the glory of the Lord’, or put another way, into the likeness of Christ. So much of Western Protestant Christianity in particular denies our ‘telos’, our end, an thus is directionless. It sets no path before us by which we may so e transformed, indeed it isn’t even expected. We rather ‘hope for heaven’ beyond this life, rather than look in Hope for its gradual emergence amongst us.

Secondly we may well ask of ourselves, in what sense are we ‘a letter of Christ’? How is this ‘shown’? How are we being transformed in and through our common life that as a people we are changed from one degree of glory to another?