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Showing posts from February, 2016

Born Crucified!

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. Isaiah‬ ‭53:2‬ ‭
At one level this is simply telling us two contrasting truths. On the one hand we are being told Jesus was an average human being physically. He was not any more beautiful or ugly than people we meet around. If we met Jesus on the train we would not notice him. If he sat opposite us in a meeting at work we may even ignore his view.
On the other hand we are told Jesus had a very extraordinary beginning. He is likened to a plant growing in a dry ground or concrete. Is this a metaphor for the virgin birth? Possibly. But it is probably better to see it as referring to the entire vulnerability and improbabilities of his birth - the virginal conception, Herod's plot and the flight to Egypt.

Hard Truth!

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? ISAIAH 53:1
The first question is answered by the second!  Our message = the arm of the LORD! Who has believed = those it has been revealed to. The arm of the LORD is helpfully translated by VOICE as the "awesome power and plan of the LORD in action". This power and plan of salvation unfolds in Jesus the Suffering and Exalted Servant.
The first question is rhetorical - who would possibly ever believe what we've been told? The answer is that only those to who it has been revealed or enabled to believe. This amazing power of a God who becomes man and is crucified for our sins is not for everyone to believe! It is a hard truth. But thanks be to God that God has not just become man and died on the cross, he has revealed his saving power and plan for us to believe in Him!
Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2014

Collapse in Shared Culture

Will Hatton writing in the Guardian on the "collapse in shared culture" makes some interesting observations :    "....an all-encompassing big-tent culture to which we all belong and which has the power to stigmatise and make individuals shamed is fragmenting into mini subcultures, defining themselves by loyalty to their own and opposition and hatred of the other. Arsenal and Tottenham fans define themselves by mutual detestation; men define their masculinity by objectifying women. Generosity and respect for political opponents grows weaker......Parallel, and reinforcing this cultural fragmentation, is a social fragmentation: the ties that bind communities and neighbourhoods are fraying. Long hours and long commutes make civic and social engagement harder. Our crowded lives offer less chance for friendship, association and the creation of a social life that you would not want to put at risk by being stigmatised for bad behaviour. Together, this collapse in a shared cultu…

Parodies of Hope

All human effort falls short of its intended potential, all human aspirations exist under judgment, and all human achievement is measured by the standards of the coming kingdom. In the present historical context, this means that Christians recognize that all social organizations exist as parodies of eschatological hope. And so it is that the city is a poor imitation of heavenly community; the modern state, a deformed version of the ecclesia; the market, a distortion of consummation; modern entertainment, a caricature of joy; schooling, a misrepresentation of true formation; liberalism, a crass simulacrum of freedom; and the sovereignty we accord to the self, a parody of God himself. As these institutions and ideals become ends in themselves, they become the objects of idolatry. The shalom of God—which is to say, the presence of God himself—is the antithesis to all such imitations. Always and everywhere he relativizes the pretensions of all social institutions to power, fellowship, joy…