Hugo lives in the walls of a station in Paris in Brian Selznick's magical novel (now a Martin Scorsese film). He keeps the station clocks running as he explores the question he shares with many of the other characters in the film. Who am I? What's my place in the world? Looking out through the glass clock face he muses: “You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need… if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.”
Who can't empathise with Hugo? At our different stages of life we might ask ourselves what it means for us to make a meaningful contribution. And we could talk about church which is good enough but much more about our city. And by city I don't just mean the metropolitan area but the city and its area - some live in the city and work outside it, some live outside and are connected to it...
The centre of the book of Galatians is the geekiest verse in the Bible. Galatians 3:16 says that promises were made to Abraham's offspring and that is not many but one. One offspring who is The Christ.
The Galatians, like Peter at Antioch, and me have fallen into a narcissistic legalism where legal standing with God and belonging to the family have become about what I do rather than these things having been fully accomplished by the gospel of the Triune God.
Paul constructs from personal testimony and from Biblical Theology at response centred on the revealed Son of the Father who is proclaimed to all peoples (1:15-16), the crucified Son of the Father who loved me and gave himself for me, who brings those from all peoples into the blessedness of the Triune life as adopted Spirit-filled Sons of the Father.
The difference between a self-centred life and finding your life in the life of the Triune God is bigger than the difference between thinking the sun orbits the earth and how th…
Who are the blessed? The rich? Famous? Talented? Those with autonomy? Those free from others constraints. Other cultures would differ but this is our story. The haunting memory of a better story makes us cynical about such a story, yet still we fawn over our celebrity gods.
Psalm 1-2 say there is one blessed man who meditates on the law, as kings could. Like Joshua/Yeshua by the word he prospers, a kingly tree. He's the LORD's Christ (Anointed). The king of the Holy Hill. The Father’s Son. He inherits all creation.
But, we don't believe Bible reading makes you rich so what is this? Not I? Who is this blessed champion?
Against him are the wicked and sinners. Kings of the world who rage against Christ to overthrow and dethrone him. The autonomous... they will be blown at like chaff, they perish, .they will be broken. Their apparent victory is hollow. Their blessedness quickly fades.
The song speaks to them. The wicked are warned and invited to align with the blessed man, no…
We've used this song a few times recently at our church. Matt Giles adaptation of Maltbie Babcock's hymn. Matt's ability to freshen up the musical arrangements and lyrics of old hymns is a precious gift.
This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings,and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world, I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world, He shines in all that’s fair;
In rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father's world, yet here His Son was slain, Though God from God, He esteemed it not, by human hands betrayed This is my Father's world, His works shall not be lost God’s love would bring us home to Him Though Jesus be the cost This is my Father's world, why should my heart be sad? The Lo…
I live in a provincial city. Small enough to walk across in just over an hour or so, and its serviced with a branch line railway that makes transport a bit quicker. From time to time I get the train into the city centre because it's a 6 minute journey and that saves me 25 minutes walking time plus is a bit easier when I'm carrying stuff. Invariably I then walk home.
This morning I did that journey. I boarded the crowded train and was delivered to my destination. I'd not been sold a ticket on the train (and there isn't a ticket machine at my station) so I knew I'd have to queue. I found myself quickly the 20th person in a queue that soon stacked up behind me. With one person serving.
This post isn't really about railways.
And nothing I'm writing here is to complain about the station staff who are generally excellent and friendly.
I've worked in Customer Service and it's often a thankless task and gladly forgive occasional grumpiness. The shriek at s…