Friday, April 28, 2006

Prophet, priest, and king

In Ezra 5, we have references to two prophets - Haggai and Zechariah. Zerubbabel, I guess, is a close to a king as the Jews were allowed, and Ezra himself was a priest. Scope for interesting thoughts about leadership.

I have enjoyed recent readings focusing on this period of Jewish history. It has a more modern feel than, for example, the Exodus. To-day's reading describes a bureaucracy we would be proud of to-day. Who had authorised the rebuilding of Jerusalem?

Monday, April 24, 2006


Have started reading Ezra, and have been told that worship was one of the two core practices which he championed (the other was obedience to scripture). Many times, I have heard that worship is really 'worth-ship', but what does it mean that we have to do?

Principally, in my experience, worship is what we do when we sing hymns in church. Simplistic? Unfortunately, as a result, our view of worship, and whether or not it is a satisfactory experience (for us - I wonder what God thinks), gets tied up with whether or not we relate to the style of music.

And hymns acquire baggage. Sunday's sermon included a lovely illustration, of a bairn in Primary 1 making a mess of his painting and going up to the teacher and asking for another sheet of paper. As the minister commented, life isn't like that. His message, however, was that by his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, Jesus enables us to start again. What I am having difficulty holding together are the undoubted theological truth of this message, and at the same time the practical truth of life, that we are prisoners of history. Especially conscious of this now, as I find myself contemplating joining the parish church of a small(-ish) community, remembering the last time that I belonged to the parish church of a small community.

Monday, April 17, 2006


If only it were this simple.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


I've been reading the story of what happened when the religious authorities finally got hold of Jesus, and how they then put it to Pontius Pilate that the man should be crucified. And I've been thinking about the choices which people made. The religious leaders had clearly decided that Jesus needed to be got rid of. There was no question of acknowledging him. The phrases 'king of the Jews', and 'son of God' had become accusations. Other people were also faced with making choices. Pontius Pilate could, in theory, have stood up to the mob, and set Jesus free. Peter, in the high priest's courtyard, decided that it would be simpler if he didn't own up to being one of Jesus' followers.

I find choosing difficult.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Proverbs 31:9; nothing to add, really.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Proverbs 30 starts with a challenge. The atheist says that, since there is no God, he (the atheist) can do what he likes. But the believer counter claims. This argument can sometimes be internal. A part of me says - there is no God, why do you waste your time praying? But there is a reply - I prayed about that issue, and look what happened!

Thursday, April 06, 2006


This morning I read Proverbs 29:1 (I should have read the whole of Proverbs 29, but neither time nor my spiritual digestion would permit). Yesterday, I read this in TractorGirl's wiblog. Right now I have an awful feeling of life closing in, of being on the verge of breaking. This proverb doesn't help, particularly. Perhaps Jesus' parable of the wise and foolish builders gives a more balanced view.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


I should be blogging Proverbs 28, but I thought that you'd rather look at one of Dave Walker's cartoons:

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

I should say that the gentleman in this cartoon could easily be me. I would much rather put my feelings somewhere nobody can see them than express them (to some extent, I have arrived at this state through bitter experience). Blogging is nice, because I can tell the whole world, but nobody I rub shoulders with on a daily basis ever reads what I write.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cause and effect

Haggai's thesis seems to be that the people of Jerusalem have missed out on blessing, because of their lack of enthusiasm when it came to rebuilding the temple. He makes the connection clear - chapter 2, verses 15-17 indicate that little effort on God's house means poor crops, while verses 18 and 19 paint a happier picture - work hard on restoring the temple, and your crops will do well.

Is it really that simple?

Monday, April 03, 2006


Things were better then. Even in my lifetime, were things better then than they are now? I don't really think so. But it is difficult to avoid an all-pervading sense of depression. Though we are, in theory, materially well-off, we, in a sense, struggle to survive. We work, not to improve our lot, but to prevent ourselves from sinking back into the mire. We seem to have little control.

Yes, get to work! For I am with you. I'm afraid that sounds a bit like the taskmaster berating his donkey - yes, you're with me, answers the donkey, but I seem to be the one who's carrying the load.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Having discovered that this blog is ranked 864,509th in the world on Technorati, I don't know whether to celebrate or be disappointed. But it doesn't do any harm to do a bit of self-assessment.

Except that what are my options? Start liking parsnips?