Monthly Archives: December 2007

the cast of christmas reassembles for easter

Take the wise men to the Emperor’s palace.
Wash their hands in water.
Get them to say something about truth.
Does anyone know any good Jewish jokes?
The one about a carpenterwho thought he was a King?
The one about the Saviour who couldn’t save himself?
The shepherds should stand with the chorus.
They have a big production number -‘Barabbas, We Love You Baby’.
Mary? She can move to the front.
We have a special section reserved for family and close friends.
Tell her that we had to cut the manger up.
We needed the wood for something else.
The star I’m afraid I can’t use.
There are no stars in this show.
The sky turns black with sorrow.
The earth shakes with terror.
Hold on to the frankincense.
We’ll need that for the garden scene.
Angels? He could do with some angels.
Avenging angels.
Merciful angels.
He could really do with some angels.
Baby Jesus.
Step this way please.
My! How you’ve grown!

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Filed under christmas, cross, Jesus

an extraordinary Sunday of community

Last Sunday was an amazing experience at church. 400 or so people from church gathered for a meeting in the afternoon. These people are volunteers for the Carols by Candlelight event that St Paul’s is hosting next Sunday.
As the meeting came to a close, a couple of cracks of thunder, the heavens opened, and hail the size of golf balls pounded the site. Everyone gathered outside to watch their vehicles in the carpark get their own golf-ball like dimples. (It was over in 10 minutes, and the sun came out!).

The same storm killed the power, not only of St Paul’s, but of all of Castle Hill. All of our electric amps and keyboards, powerpoint screens and microphones were rendered useless. So, as 5pm church approached, our musos rose to the challenge. They ditched the songs they had been rehearsing all afternoon, and worked out songs that they could lead with just acoustic guitars and pianos, and that enough people would know how to sing without words on a screen. They pulled it off beautifully. Pray-ers, bible readers and the preacher rediscovered the lost art of voice projection, and the congregation cooperated by moving seats to reduce the range.

The ante was upped for the 7pm service. At about 6.15, we realised that light in the building was fading fast. Again, people sprang into action, finding and setting up candles on the stage. The noise was stripped right back, but the singing was fired right up. The candles flickered, punctuating the night as the preacher wandered the stage speaking God’s word into the darkness.

And the text for the day?
For you were once darkness, but now you are a light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:8-9.

God is awesome, and it was great to see the fruit of His Spirit as people bound together to serve each other and to praise His holy name. Unforgettable.

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Filed under church, community

christmas is really for the children

Christmas is really for the children.
Especially for children
who like animals, stables,
stars and babies wrapped
in swaddling clothes.
Then there are wise men,
kings in fine robes,
humble shepherds and a
hint of rich perfume.

Easter is not really
for the children
unless accompanied by
a cream filled egg.
It has whips, blood, nails,
a spear and allegations
of body snatching.
It involves politics, God
and the sins of the world.
It is not good for people
of a nervous disposition.
They would do better to
think on rabbits, chickens
and the first snowdrop
of spring.

Or they’d do better to
wait for a re-run of
Christmas without asking
too many questions about
what Jesus did when he grew up
or whether there’s any connection.

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Filed under christmas, easter, Jesus, poetry

get you thinking…

An excellent series of thoughtful and measured posts on the first few chapters of Genesis here:

Worth a look.

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Filed under theology

the way, the truth, the life

I am the way to God: I did not come
To light a path, to blaze a trail, that you
May follow simply in my tracks, pursue
My shadow like a prize that’s cheaply won.
My life reveals the life of God, the sum
Of all he is and does. So how can you,
The sons of night, look on me and construe
My way as just the road for you to run?
My path takes in Gethsemanae, the Cross,
And stark rejection draped in agony.
My way to God embraces utmost loss:
Your way to God is not my, but me.
Each other path is dismal swamp, or fraud.
I stand alone: I am the way to God.

I am the truth of God: I do not claim
I merely speak the truth, as though I were
A prophet (but no more), a channel, stirred
By Spirit power, of purely human frame.
Nor do I say that when I take his name
Upon my lips, my teaching cannot err
(Though that is true). A mere interpreter
I’m not, some prophet-voice of special fame.
In timeless reaches of eternity
The Triune God decided that the Word,
The self-expression of the Deity,
Would put on flesh and blood – and thus be heard.
The claim to speak truth good men applaud.
I claim much more: I am the truth of God.

I am the resurrection life. It’s not
As though I merely bear life-giving drink,
A magic elixir which (men might think)
Is cheap because though lavish it’s not bought.
The price of life was fully paid: I fought
With death and black despair; for I’m the drink
Of life. The resurrection morn’s the link
Between my death and endless life sought.
I am the firstborn from the dead; and by
My triumph, I deal death to lusts and hates.
My life I no extend to men, and ply
Them with the draught that ever satiates.
Religion’s page with empty boasts is rife:
But I’m the resurrection and the life.

D.A.Carson, The Gospel According to John. Leicester: IVP, 1991: 492-3.

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Filed under Jesus, poetry