Tuesday, October 25, 2011

25th October

So today I’ve needed to rest, I’ve done almost nothing. Watched a movie, researched some music and fed the cat. That’s about it, although I do have house group this evening so there’s something to look forward to. And I did have a visit from a friend this afternoon which was good as we often end up discussing challenging subjects. He’s running a film club at a local church and they’re next showing ‘Of Gods and Men’, a true story of a group of French Cistercian Trappist monks threatened by fundamentalist terrorists. Stationed with an impoverished Algerian community they must decide whether to leave or stay. So my friend and I then spend an hour or so thinking of the way the world is changing and how difficult it is to even keep up with events let alone interpret them. I think we both agree on concern for the political changes across North Africa and the fallacy of a singular belief in the introduction or reformation of democracy as a panacea for bad national leadership.

I find it difficult to trust any initial understanding of world affairs, as so often events unfold in a very different way from that which is predicted. It seems that for every publicised comment made by a politician there are half a dozen interpretations of what he or she is really meaning. And the news medium through which we gather information always has it’s own bias anyway. So who can we trust to share truth?  I’ve found the Bible, when read with plain common sense, can be accepted at it’s simple face value. It doesn’t have to be seen as too complicated, or a mystery to be understood only by scholars. Indeed it was always intended to be primarily used for public reading and therefore useful to untutored men and women… that’s me I suppose. The original Greek found in much of the New Testament was the Greek of the common-man or ‘Street-Greek’ if you like and few of our translations properly reflect that. So I see the Bible as having many uses, but for a start it is a plumb-line revealing God’s righteousness on one side and exposing man’s sinfulness on the other. And Jesus Christ, being the Son of God who became a man, is the only person who can provide a way to cross that divide. And the Bible, which is really a collection of 66 books, can also be seen as a handbook of life including God’s take on history, life-education, law and prophesy; as well as some quite marvellous poetry to be incorporated in our worship. It is the only definitive, unchallengeable description of God, Godliness and God purpose that exists in my opinion.

So what does the Bible say of world affairs in our day? Reading it simply I would say that we are living in what the Bible calls the end times, and it says that there will be a rise in evil everywhere. But alongside that will be a rise in goodness as the Bride of Christ, the church, is made ready through her good deeds, for the return of Christ to Planet Earth. Yes, he is coming back soon, and certainly at a time when we least expect which for me would be right now. But our role is simply to be ready, whenever he comes. We may not be able to change the whole of our nation for good but at least our little bit can be honest, caring, respectful and hardworking… basically Godly in every way.

Matthew 24:12-14 ‘Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.’ (NLT)

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