“Labour place faith in religious vote,” said a placard outside the newsagent’s the other day, and with a sniff and a snort I began composing a reaction – only to see that the Cellarer and the Catholic Teuchtar have beaten me to it.
More generally, a bigger point is made from Exodus here.
The key component (or at least one of the key components) of the proclamation of the gospel is not simply the presentation of the truths about the Saviour, although that is essential to the proclamation of the gospel.
What really makes it deserve to be called good news is not simply that this perfect man, the Son of God in our nature, exists, but that he is available to us, an accessible Saviour. Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given. Unto you is the word of this salvation sent.
He is not someone to be admired from a distance (although he should be admired by one and all) – he is there to be taken hold of, appropriated, received and rested on for salvation, by us. He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us, so that we (who knew no righteousness) would be made the righteousness of God in him. It’s not a complete gospel if you only talk about who Christ is, abstractly considered – what makes it a gospel for us, for us humans and sinners, is that we can have him for our own.
It’s amazing how fragile your routines and life structures are, and how easily in a moment things can get dramatically turned upside down.
Which makes you wonder how people cope in difficult times without the conviction that in providence all things are being well worked out for good. A review I read a while ago of that newish book by the minister who had cancer said that that’s the kind of conviction you need to build up when things are going well. When your world is being shattered by some catastrophe, then is not the time to start working out whether goodness is one of the divine attributes. But with that conviction under your belt as entirely non-negotiable, storms are much more weatherable when they arise.
(And that’s not an apologetic point. It’s not that, since feeble humans can’t cope without a belief in providence, therefore there must be such a thing as divine providence. It’s, how reassuring providence is, given that God sustains, upholds, preserves, and provides.)
(That book is Paul Wolfe, “My God is True: Lessons Learned Along Cancer’s Dark Road,” BOT, reviewed here.)
As you know, all the furniture that’s really required in a Protestant church building is:
1) somewhere for the preacher to preach from;
2) somewhere for the listeners to listen from
– and for convenience, these items usually consist of a pulpit and some pews. The four walls, of course, are merely to keep off the elements, and certainly not to be decorated with distractions of any sort!
However, here’s a question. There’s a term that people use to refer to the area around the pulpit, plus or minus the precentor’s box, where the elders might sit in some congregations. I’ve only heard it being spoken, and can’t recall ever seeing it written. In IPA, it’s [ˈletrən], or in amateurish Scottish ‘sound-as-it’s-spelled’, “lay-tron”.
Does anyone know the proper spelling for this word?
Terry Pratchett, who has Alzheimer’s, wants assisted suicide to be legalised.
Michael Wenham, who has motor neurone disease, doesn’t.
If ever there was an issue that needed to be discussed without the distractions of opinion polls and emotive stories about the mercy/compassion/love of those who aided the suicide of their relatives, this would be it.