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“Jesus Christ”

Let not the sun go down upon your wrath

In his wonderful book on Ephesians, Watchman Nee observes that the letter can be divided into three movements: “Sit, Walk, Stand.” We are seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6) We then walk worthy of our calling in Christ. (Ephesians 4:1) And we stand against the assaults of the evil one. (Ephesians […]

The unsearchable riches of Christ

What is the message of Christianity for the world?  If you could boil it down, what is the proclamation of the church?  Paul has a wonderful summary in Ephesians 3:8. John Wycliffe translated it: “the vnserchable richessis of Crist”. William Tyndale put it as: “the unsearchable ryches of Christ.” And, in that tradition, the King […]

A man reaps what he sows

The saying is instantly recognisable as religious.  Even if few people know where it comes from, most will assume it’s biblical.  And they’ll assume that they know what it means. It’s about cause and effect right?  It’s saying: ‘What goes around, comes around.’  ‘If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned.’  ‘Everyone gets […]

Anathema

What is beyond the pale?  What behaviour or what belief is out of bounds? How does a group or individual prove themselves to be completely unacceptable? In this context we might say that so and so or such and such is “anathema.” It might be as trivial as the way a Mac user considers PCs.  It […]

A thorn in my flesh

Difficult people, chronic illness, vocal opposition, disability, bureaucrats in your way – all sorts of long-term problems might be called “a thorn in your flesh.” Ever since the curse was pronounced in Eden, thorns have tormented us: “Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of […]

Suffer fools gladly

“He didn’t suffer fools gladly” reads the obituary… “Cantankerous old grouch” we imagine…  Or at least I do.  I might be wrong in the particulars, but that’s how I read the phrase in general. No-one ever does suffer fools gladly.  We are only told when someone definitely does not.  And since, generally, no-one seems to […]

The letter of the law

—  The fat-cat who exploits every tax loop-hole imaginable… —  The hospital which lets pedantic box-ticking get in the way of patient-care… —  The cricketer whose legal ploy is nonetheless “not cricket” (New Zealanders know what I’m talking about)… In all these cases we’d say they obeyed the letter of the law but not the […]

O death where is thy sting

When Monty Python’s Life of Brian came out 30 years ago it caused a tremendous stir. Now there are definitely reasons to object to the film.  But we should not object simply because the film makes fun of religious people.  Jesus made fun of religious people.  Constantly. (e.g. The Mote and the Beam or Straining at […]

Faith, hope and love…

Heaven is a world of love.  So said Jonathan Edwards in a famous sermon by that title.  His text was our verse for today: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”  (1 Corinthians 13:13) It’s a trio that Paul uses often in his letters to describe the […]

Now we see through a glass darkly

How would you compare life now to life when Jesus returns? So often we think of ‘the here and now’ as the concrete reality and Christ’s future as an ephemeral, ‘wafty’ hope.  Paul thought of things precisely the other way around. In the final paragraph of First Corinthians 13, Paul addresses our future hope.  When compared […]