Tomorrow at Explore: The deeper meaning of The Nativity

Starts tomorrow:

Over three Sundays leading up to and around Christmas 2019, we are going to celebrate with carols, prayer and the BBC adaptation of The Nativity, the powerful story of a teenager whose parents arrange to marry a local carpenter, who can’t accept her explanation when she mysteriously falls pregnant.  Sundays 8, 15 and 29 December, 11.15am, Ottery St Mary Parish Church.

Sinach: Way Maker

Sinach is a Nigerian songwriter and worship leader. In March she became the first Christian singer from Nigeria to get a hundred million views on a single video on YouTube. Here is a lyric version of the video’s song, Way Maker.

You are here
Moving in our midst
I worship you, I worship you
You are here
Working in this place
I worship you, I worship you

Way maker, Miracle worker, Promise keeper, Light in the darkness
My God, That is who you are

You are here, Touching every heart
I worship you, I worship you
You are here, Healing every heart
I worship you, I worship you
You are here, Turning lives around
I worship you, I worship you
You are here, Mending every heart
I worship you, I worship you

You wipe away all tears, You mend the broken heart
You’re the answer to it all, Jesus

Romans 8: I am persuaded, you see

from the Bible Society’s 2019 calendar

I am persuaded, you see, that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor the present, nor the future, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in King Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39, New Testament for Everyone

C. Baxter Kruger: Blasphemously familiar

From the book The Shack Revisited, by theologian C. Baxter Kruger: 

Abba suggests an image of unceremonious closeness and warmth, of undaunted familiarity and at-homeness with God.

What are we to make of the fact that Jesus addresses God not only as Father, but as Abba, Daddy?  According to Joachim Jeremias, this venture in language ‘was something new and unheard of’, perhaps revolutionary.  This is a matter of scholarly debate.  What is not debatable is the striking fact that that more than sixty times in the Gospels, nearly forty times in John, Jesus uses the phrase ‘my Father’, which has no parallel in the Hebrew Bible.  And according to Jeremias, no parallel in all the literature of Judaism.  No biblical Jew would have dared conceive of such a standing with God.  It would have been blasphemously familiar, which is the very accusation the Jewish leadership leveled at Jesus.

The plain and astonishing fact is that this language was commonplace for Jesus…  [Author gives many examples]… Again and again Jesus refers to God not only as ‘Father’, but as ‘my Father’.  He refers to himself not only as ‘a’ son but as ‘the Son’.  In terms of the Bible, Jesus’ relationship with God, whom he called ‘Father’, ‘my Father’ and ‘Abba’, is in a class by itself…

The relationship between Jesus the Son and the God he called ‘my Father’ was an exclusive and intimate relationship so unthinkable to the Jews that they took up stones to kill him for blasphemy.  For in ‘calling God His own Father,’ he was ‘making Himself equal with God.’ (John 5:18).  They could only take his familiarity as undiluted arrogance.

the-shack-revisitedThe Shack Revisited, C. Baxter Kruger

Romans 8: No creature

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Romans 8:38-39, New Testament for Everyone

38 I am persuaded, you see, that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor the present, nor the future, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in King Jesus our Lord.

Tomorrow at Explore

Tomorrow is the last of our Sundays reading through the book of Acts.  Gill leads us in Paul’s Journey to Rome (Acts Chapters 27 and 28).  The last two chapters of Acts.  How can I make a difference for God?  11.15am, Ottery St Mary Parish Church.

CS Lewis: Behave as if you love someone

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. There is, indeed one exception. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to show him what a fine, forgiving chap you are, and to put him in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his ‘gratitude’, you will probably be disappointed. (People are not fools: they have a very quick eye for showing off, or patronage.) But whenever we do good to another self, just because it is a self, made (like us) by God and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours, we shall have learned to love it a little more, or at least to dislike it less….

Some writers use the word charity to describe not only Christian love between human beings, but also God’s love for man and man’s love for God. About the second of these two, people are often worried. They are told they ought to love God. They cannot find any such feeling in them selves. What are they to do? The answer is the same as before. Act as if you did. Do not sit trying to manufacture feelings. Ask yourself, “If I were sure that I loved God what would I do? When you have found the answer, go and do it.”

C S Lewis