Two Good Spoons
In the run up to the rapidly approaching move, there are several things that have become part of my life for the past few years that there’s no longer any call for and which must regretfully be got rid of or left behind. I thought it might be fun to share some of them (this might be the last post).
I have no further use for this bar code scanner and, besides, it belongs to work. I won’t miss the semi-regular having to disable and re-enable it through the device manager settings to get it to work but its been part of my working daily life for a long, long time – wooden Harry Potter scar and all. The trunking holding the spoons, on the other hand, is a genius idea and one that I’d be happy to add to my list of inventions. Still, there’ll be a drawer full of cutlery at the new place and the “two good spoons” can be retained by a successor.
In the run up to the rapidly approaching move, there are several things that have become part of my life for the past few years that there’s no longer any call for and which must regretfully be got rid of. I thought it might be fun to share some of them (this might be the last post).
Purple Coffee Clip of Caffeinated Freshness
This purple clip turned up at work holding together a bunch of papoers that were destined for the shredder and was quickly given the new and vital job of holding my coffee bags closed and as air-tight as could be managed. It has also served to identify my coffee in an increasingly filled fridge. I’ll be leaving it behind to carry on its roll for whoever uses the most coffee at the Religious Resources Centre…
In the run up to the rapidly approaching move, there are several things that have become part of my life for the past few years that there’s no longer any call for and which must regretfully be got rid of. I thought it might be fun to share some of them (this might be the only post).
First up: this personalised Marmite jar, given to me by a friend a few Christmases ago, and kept topped up in the kitchen at work ever since. It’s much smaller than the jar I use at home and I don’t need to identify my condiments and spreads in my own house.
This morning’s Pentecost service saw us arrive at the end of three and a bit months of being “in season”. Hinged around the mysteries of Holy Week and Easter, Pentecost mirrors Ash Wednesday – with an anointing with sweet smelling oil instead of the imposition of ashes. We may be returning to dust but, in the meantime, we have work to be getting on with, places to go…
So, out into the wild places we go. For many of us, that will mean family, work, friends and leisure – it may be the same business as usual but hopefully the forty days of preparation and fifty days of celebration, topped off with a Spirit-filled encounter, will have changed us, setting up to go as God wants through this long, green, non-season towards the coming cold winter of Advent…
I’m currently sitting in a church in which a bunch of reflective stations around the Passion Narrative have been set up. The evening is alternating between a chance for the congregation to move between the stations whilst very old plainsong plays and some reflective sung worship.
I’m experiencing a slight, possibly inaccurate, sense of deja vu tinged with regret. I remember being involved with putting together this kind of thing in the past and that it was a worthwhile and valuable thing. But tonight I’m just the caretaker. I’m not a gobby youth, nor a student. I’m no longer involved with any local groups that do this kind of thing..
I want to help people encounter God.
I want to help people worship.
I want to change lives.
Later I will need to think about the hows and the whens.
Tonight, I’m just the caretaker.
A Christmas gift from a friend at church, rescued from our 17-month-old who’d rifled the gift bag…
Rejoice! Made it safe to the end of another year’s football.
This year, I’m joining in with a Facebook group’s photo challenge for Advent. We’ll be using the following list of word prompts, taken from the Picture Advent website. I’m planning to post my efforts here (although the first dozen will be retrospectively added and backdated (just like this post – written on 13th December) to keep things in order and reduce confusion). Oh, and this year, Advent begins on December 3rd…
03 Dec Awaken
04 Dec Comfort
05 Dec Plants
06 Dec Sheep
07 Dec Faithful
08 Dec Wait
09 Dec Messenger
10 Dec Water
11 Dec Tree
12 Dec Garden
13 Dec Change
14 Dec Rejoice
15 Dec Light
16 Dec Name
17 Dec Baptism
18 Dec Home
19 Dec Love
20 Dec Blessed
21 Dec Generations
22 Dec Good News
23 Dec Promise
24 Dec Child
25 Dec Holy Family
(Acts, Chapter Two)
I’m going to be looking at this story out of order since the feast of Pentecost will be this Sunday – normal service will be resumed next week, when I try and fit the Exodus into one post.
The first thing to mention is that there are two festivals, both known as Pentecost. At the time of the story below, the crowds gathered in Jerusalem were there to celebrate Shavu’ot, the Jewish Festival of Weeks (also known as Pentecost) which occurs fifty days after the Passover and celebrates the giving of The Torah. When the Christian church began memorialising the events below, they kept the name ‘Pentecost’ but the festival itself is very different – not least, because it celebrates the giving of the Holy Spirit rather than the Books of Law.
Our story begins fifty days after the events of Easter weekend. The remaining disciples are meeting together in Jerusalem, following Jesus’s being taken back into Heaven – they have just elected a replacement for Judas Iscariot but are otherwise not up to much and are following Jesus’s instructions to “wait for what the Father promised.” It’s fair to say that they’re probably feeling a bit sorry for themselves – Jesus has been taken away from them for the second time in as many months, and there doesn’t seem to be much to hope for but they’re not so afraid that they’ve hidden themselves away from the world entirely.
Then, with a sound of rushing wind and the appearance of burning fires resting on them, everything changed! The Holy Spirit, the promised helper, arrived and they all started speaking in different languages as prompted by the Spirit. This hubbub was heard by the crowds gathered for Shavu’ot – devout Jews from all over the world (*1) – who came and heard what the disciples were saying, “each in their own language” – to much consternation and joking about them being already drunk.
Peter takes this opportunity to tell the crowd the story of Jesus and his death and resurrection, many of them become Christians and the Early Church is born – meeting together and growing in number in a state of harmony that seems too good to last. It is.
*1 – the tongue-twisting list of nations and races annually causes problems for people reading this passage in church…
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Last Friday, I talked a little about some of the different genres to be found in the Bible – and I think that this is something that is very important to bear in mind when reading it, otherwise you can end up asking why the poet thought his girlfriend looked quite as strange as shown in the illustration.
There are two extremes within Christian interpretation of the Bible:
– that every word is the literal word of God, historically accurate from start to finish
– and that pretty much everything in it should be read allegorically
Both of these are overly simplistic ways of looking at it and come with their own problems – such as a head on collision with scientific evidence (I was told once that if I didn’t believe in a six-day creation then I “wasn’t a proper Christian”), or such a divergence from accepted Christian belief as to be unrecognisable at times. In between which are many mainstream ways of reading the Bible, none of which can claim to be “the one true way” (but sometimes do) and all with something to offer the interested reader.
Next week, I’ll be looking at a conservative view of the scriptures and the practical consequences of this interpretation, and the week after that, doing the same for a more liberal view.
In the meantime, the RRC has hundreds of biblical commentaries to help you think a bit more deeply – search our catalogue for more information.
We’d love to hear what your views are and where you’re coming from in the comments below…
Original Facebook post