All posts by Chris Goringe

What day is it today?

Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ …
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. Genesis 1:26;1:31-2:3

What day is it today? We treat this story (even in play, I’m not going take it literally…) as a description of the start of all things, as if we live in what comes after. But might it be a description of the whole of history?

For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.’ And again in this place it says, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’ Hebrews 4:4-5

They shall not – in the future – enter my rest – the seventh day.

Is it possible that we are living in the sixth day of the story, the day of creation and dominion, and that the seventh day, God’s rest, is still to come? That “the heavens and the earth were finished” is a prophecy, not a history?

How rude!

Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ Matthew 17:4-5

While he was still speaking… how rude of God, to interrupt. And to interrupt with the words “listen to him” – shut up, stop talking, start listening….

Or is the voice giving Moses and Elijah a slap down? Peter would build three tabernacles, one for each of them; Moses, Elijah, Jesus: but the voice says “this is my Son – not the other two – listen to him“…

Ambiguous Birds

And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up…
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path…
He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’ Matthew 13:3-4, 19, 31-32

I wonder if it’s the same birds who eat the seed, snatching it away, and, just two parables later, come and nest in the Kingdom tree…

I think I was in heaven

When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’, which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. Mark 5:39-43

We read this story last night with the kids. J’s immediate response at the end of the story – “I think Jesus wasn’t really meant to bring people back to life. That’s why he didn’t want anyone to know about it. Maybe God didn’t want him to bring the girl back, because she was with God in heaven…”

I was happy. Wherever I was… I was happy… at peace. I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time… didn’t mean anything. Nothing had form. But I was still me, you know? And I was warm. And I was loved. And I was finished. Complete. I – I don’t understand theology or dimensions, any of it really… but I think I was in heaven. And now I’m not.Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “After Life”

Too salty?

‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.Matthew 5:13

But what if salt gets too salty, Jesus? What about heart disease and arable land lost to salinity? What does too much salt of the earth look like?

Salt is powerful and effective, changing it’s environment. But at it’s best it is also subtle, even hidden. Taste the salt, and you’ve used too much….

Sermon to who?

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them. Matthew 5:1-2

Maybe it’s because of “Life of Brian”, or maybe it’s because we call this the “sermon on the mount”, but I always pictured this story as describing Jesus speaking to a large crowd. But read those words again. Doesn’t it look more like he fled from the crowds, and gave this teaching just to a smaller group?

Who got left out?

And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’ Genesis 2:16-17

Have you ever noticed that God didn’t tell Eve the rules?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ Genesis 3:1

Was it easier to spin her, because she didn’t have it first hand? Easier to twist God’s words because she hadn’t heard them?

Look what happens when women aren’t invited to the important meetings….