Tag Archive: c s lewis


cliff

i can’t remember any time recently when i wanted to kill the pastor of the church i was in [Ben the Priest is kinda cool!]. In fact it’s probably more likely that there were people thinking those kinds of thoughts about me during some of my more challenging or hectic messages back in the day. Continue reading

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phil

I’m single and I love it! Sometimes… Sometimes not so much. Valentine’s day has just been and gone and, while it’s not an occasion that I’ve ever taken very seriously, it does bring one’s singleness to the forefront of one’s mind. I was walking through the shops last Friday (the day before Valentine’s) and saw all the people selling roses and stuff like that. There was a part of me that just wanted to buy one and give it to the next person I saw. There are times like this when I feel like I’m bursting with love and have no appropriate outlet.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about singleness since I started writing this thing and it surprised me just how much I wanted to say. Most of the time I’m hardly even aware of my lack of relationship (I’m a slightly outgoing introvert and a bit of a loner, I spend a lot of time in my own little world). I’ve tried to remove a lot of the rambling, and I’m sorry for the bits that are still left but a lot of this is me sifting through my feelings and trying to find coherent thoughts.

A bit of background, I was in a very serious, long term relationship for a bit over 5 years, from around the age of 20 to 25. I was in love, certain I would marry this girl and then it became clear I wouldn’t. Breaking up with her was quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There was just so much history and comfort with her that it was tempting to stay with her and ignore the problems. Without going into details, I can look at my life now, sometimes lonely, sometimes scared for the future but also knowing that the choice was right. Remarkably, our friendship survived, something that still amazes me (a testament to her kindness).

Which brings us to now: I’m 30 and still single, what a terrifying concept! Sometimes I feel like I’m staring down the path of time and looking at a 50 year old bachelor, coming home to an empty house and I feel more than a little despair! Watching my friends’ kids growing up doesn’t help… Then I look at what I’ve given up in the past for what I have now, future me can worry about the rest. I have a relationship with God that was all but forgotten while I gave my attention to a girl. I know Him in a way I couldn’t before and, for that alone, I’d give up much more than a relationship. I may not get to build my own family but I’m part of a family far bigger than any I could build myself.

I’d be lying if I said I was content but I am mostly at peace. It’s taken me quite a while to get the difference between these two things; I still hope for more but it doesn’t keep me from getting on with life. To be honest, it’s not actually something I think about all that often but, when I do, it’s not always with anguish or anxiety, it’s often with a feeling of hope and bit of excitement at what could be in future. I think the next step is to take that picture of the 50 year-old bachelor and see the hope and excitement that could be drawn into that image. I’m not quite there yet, but I am at peace; I’ll be alright. (I’m not always at peace either, there are times when little wars break out but that doesn’t mean I forget the peace, just that it needs to be renegotiated again.)

There are some great things about being single! Not some click here for 27 reasons why being single is the best, number 9 will make your day type of garbage but real reasons to embrace this life while I have it. I’ve had to learn who I am without reference to another person. I was anchored to a huge chunk of shared history. Once that was cut away, I was adrift in some real existential crisis type zone.

I love people (just in small doses). If you want to know me, there can’t be many people around. One on one is best. After that I’ll need to recharge alone. I don’t need to reserve a large chunk of that time for one person, I’m free to share it out as I see fit. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know so many people. I’ve had views that I never questioned challenged and I’ve had to mature my thinking a whole bunch. And then there’s the more selfish reasons, I’m a gamer and a dancer and I get to devote a rather large amount of attention to these hobbies.

Furthermore, I was not aware of how much I based my self-worth on my relationship status! Being single meant either redefining my worth or feeling pretty miserable for a long time. I am fearfully and wonderfully made! I started out life this way, nothing I do,say, own or make can increase my value in His eyes any more than it was when I started out with nothing, not even the ability to move on my own accord. Easy to say, hard to feel but if your worth is coming from anything else, that source probably needs to be looked at with a critical eye.

Why am I single? I don’t know. I really wish I did but I don’t. There have been some close calls, some lovely dates, the occasional mutual crush even, but even then, God made it rather clear that it was not his plan and so nothing happened. Does He want me celibate? Perhaps so, and I’m okay with that, but I wish He’d just say so and let me stop wondering… Relationships have been a stumbling block for me in the past. I’ve needed time alone to mature and build a real foundation in my life. Now I know I have to be careful in relationships. I know that any relationship I may find needs to start and end with God as a focal point. And so on… I’ve learned these things during my time alone, maybe my list just isn’t complete yet.

I was also asked for advice directed at friends who are married/heading that way. Are there many married folks reading a blog entry on singleness? Anyway, I’d like to preface this with saying it may be terrible advice, people are different and this would probably go awry in a lot of cases. For me, keep being a solid example of loving, caring people. Don’t feel the need to hide any of the joy your relationship/partner brings you, let me celebrate with you. If you have other, suitable, single friends and want to play matchmaker, go ahead but please do it openly. Yes, it’s awkward and weird but if you try be subtle, I’ll miss it. And your sharing the awkwardness makes things many times easier for me.

Cliched lines (“God has someone for you, be patient”, “I’m sure you’ll find someone soon”, etc.) are really not that helpful. I know you mean well but that’s not the way to show it. If you’re the encouraging words type, try things like “What about Susan? She’s lovely…” It’ll either open up a conversation or you’ll get shut down but at least you’ve implied that I am good enough for your friend Susan, that makes me feel good even if I’m not interested in her. (Mum, if you read this, that is not permission to start listing every single girl you know again, I know you already think I’m pretty cool :P)

Lastly, singleness in the context of the Church isn’t something that needs to be addressed in and of itself so much as relationships in general. The Christian concept of marriage is beautiful, I love it! But so often, a sermon on relationships will stick to a rather tired formula: dating and boundaries therein, wait for marriage and so on. I’m oversimplifying, there have been some amazing sermons on the topic but the problem is with the assumed progression of attraction leading to dating leading to marriage. Combine this with the ideal of marriage and there is suddenly huge pressure on dating, getting it right. There’s something of a stigma towards breakups, equating them with divorce. And so there’s this fear of dating and relationships in the church that’s not entirely warranted.

Added to that, there’s the more casual idea of a dinner date that’s completely lacking in modern social situations… I need to form an emotional connection before I can even assess whether I’m attracted to you; I can’t do this in a group. If I ask you on a date, I just want to have dinner with a person and form this emotional connection. It does not mean I am planning our marriage, and you shouldn’t be doing so either. The secular world gets so much wrong in relationships but this they get right (massive generalisation, I know but you get the point) the date is a feeling ground, not always for a relationship but also for a friendship. It’s how we plumb the depths of a bond, be it friendship or romance. You’re not making any commitment by having dinner with me, even after the hundredth time, a commitment to anything more than friendship needs to be agreed upon by both parties, I’m not trying to subtly trick you into marrying me.

I guess I’d like to sum most of this up by saying to all the single people (and those concerned) that we should take things a little less seriously. There are times when it’s hard but the same is true for being in a relationship. Just don’t let it become a central theme to your life. Love easily and keep your heart open.

One of my all time favourite quotes says it best, from C.S. Lewis’ book The Four Loves:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

[For other stories on Singleness, from both men and women, click here]

comfort

‘All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.’ [Jesus Christ, Matthew 10.22 with similiar renditions in Luke 21.17 and Mark 13.13

But what does that mean? Well, for starters, i guess it might mean that if no-one at all hates you, you just might be doing it wrong.

I think what Jesus was meaning by that statement was that the message i am about to give you and the lifestyle I will demonstrate for you is so different and so subversive and so completely upside-down from what you are used to, that a lot of people will not understand and many people will respond in confusion and anger, and some may even want to kill you.

A little bit of a problem if you are blending in so well with those around you that no-one even notices you are different.

But ‘hate’ is so strong, so let’s take it down a notch:

# Jesus was betrayed, denied, abandoned, judged, accused of something He didn’t do, deserted and crucified [one of the most painful deaths known to man]

# Paul was beaten, stoned, judged, shipwrecked, lashed, accused of being something he wasn’t and eventually killed

# 10 of Jesus’ 12 disciples were martyred for their faith [Judas killed himself and John died of old age but amongst the others it is believed they included death by being thrown off the temple, flayed alive and crucified upside-down, stabbing, being sawn in half and being clubbed to death.

Early Christians were covered in tar and set on fire for the amusement of Nero [or to be human candles at his parties], they were dragged behind chariots until dead, they were tied in leather bags and thrown in water so that they were squeezed to death and they were fed to the lions and other beasts at the Roman circus.

and don’t get me started on the Old Testament…

since almost everyone throughout the Bible lived lives that don’t appear when you type ‘comfortable’ and ‘people in the Bible’ into Uncle Google, with Jesus preaching that if you live a life that is modeled on his words and teaching that you will not be popular and since the actual lives of those professing faith in Jesus throughout the early history of the church looked remarkably uncomfortable, at risk, revolutionary, difficult and challenging, it AMAZES ME how so much of the western church today can arrive at a Christianity that looks very much comfortable, easy, non-threatening, acceptable [to those outside of the church] and not really all that subversive at all.

could this be linked to the fact that so many of us are not reading the bible any more but simply listening to the words of teachers who say things we agree with?

could this be because many of us have run out of steam and exchanged the change-the-world passion we once exhuded so brightly for settling and comfort?

could this be because the stories of those actively living lives that look a lot more like Jesus are being pushed to the side while the noise of the popular preacher takes centre stage?

and more.

the good news is that it is never too late to change.

the world is crying out for an authentic church that flies in the face of conventional assimilation and actually knows, believes and lives out the words of Jesus.

[altho be warned – all men might hate you if you do… but that might be a sign that you are close to being on the right track again]

[and i should add the disclaimer that being hated by everyone doesn’t mean you’re necessarily doing it right – it could just mean you’re a jerk – looking at you Westboro! – so you’re looking for the combination of following Jesus and not being particularly loved by everyone]

if your Christianity is easy, chances are strong that you could be doing it wrong. it seldom was for Jesus and He came to show us how perfectly this thing could be done.

‘Then Jesus said, if anyone wants to follow Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’ [Luke 9.23]

Twitter has been making me a little mad lately.

Angry mad, that is, not chop up all the vegetables and throw them in the bath tub and declare it ‘Salad Bath day’ mad… and sad mad as well – somewhere in between the two.

And by Twitter i don’t mean the whole of Twitter, and i do mean Facebook to a lesser extent as well, but christians on the various social networking sites, especially the Twitterer.

And not all christians on Twitter, thankfully. In fact, i can probably divide it into two camps [and this post in my mind originally contained a bunch of names of people but i think i will leave half of them out, so as not to become that which i am railing against – use the ‘test and see if this is me and if it is take it on and if it’s not don’t’ approach if you read this] and this is somewhat generalised but i think largely true, and of late seemingly worsely so.

THE FIGHTERS AND THE LOVERS

now i have been in the first camp for the majority of my life, i think, and so i am trying to keep my mind on that, while at the same time being able to critique why it has been frustrating me so much lately – but those who more often than not seem to be picking fights with people or issues [although the issues tend to be linked quite closely to people more often than not] and these might be people and issues that are deserving of having fights picked with them, but i think there comes a point when all you are doing seems to be picking fights and take a breather and smell a flower or celebrate something good for a change. not to say these people don’t do that, but the overwhelming nature of some of their voices has seemed more belligerent and fighty of late.

in the midst of all the fightiness and arguing and point-making and name-and-shaming [which, as i’m saying, i feel definitely has its place] on Twitter, i am hit by huge big breaths of fresh air – and this is where i will mention names – Eugene Cho [@eugenecho]talking about One Day’s Wages and the work they are continuing to do in the disaster areas of the Philippines,  Donald Miller [@donaldmiller] who is currently on honeymoon and tweeting out some gems he prepared beforehand but often sharing exciting stories from the Storyline blog he helps put together, Mike Pilavachi [@mikepilav] who generally shares exciting things about exciting kingdom happenings that he gets to be involved with all of the time, whoever is tweeting for Pope Francis [@pontifex] which tend to be inspirational Jesus-focused messages and calls to live like Him, and the Tim Keller Wisdom [@dailykeller] tweets which are often inspiring quotes or scripture verses. as well as anyone who shares C.S.Lewis quotes.

and in the middle of that, on her own planet [and what a fun planet it is] is Jamie Wright [@JamieTheVWM] who bounces between completely serious and mouth-wateringly-sarcastic and vulnerable and crazy and inspiring and fun… so often fresh air in the midst of the fresh air.

light

MORE LIGHT, LESS DARKNESS BASHING

i do believe there is a time to take on the darkness [slavery, woman’s rights, human-trafficking, racism] and maybe there is a case for some people feeling the need to do that more often than not [there are certainly some Old Testament prophets who didn’t get their fair share of the friendly messages to deliver] but i do believe that it is a lot more helpful and inspiring and all-around-fun to shine the light more often and more regularly and with more intensity than taking on the darkness.

so when you need to take on the darkness, by all means do so… but if there is ever a choice, rather shine some light. 

you see, light drives away the darkness simply by being light [not by any active drivingness on its part] and Jesus called us to be light [not hidden light, displayed light]

also i don’t know too much how people are swayed by Twitter fights and Facebook wall arguments and i imagine the watching world does not take away the hugest declaration of ‘You shall be known by the love you have one for another’ from a lot of what has been going on of late.

the responsibility is so huge when you have a huge following as people are strongly influenced by the how as well as the what.

may we be faithful in every aspect of our online presence and may we be surrounded by people who love us well who we invite to call us on stuff when we get it wrong.

thank you to all of you who are drawing people towards Jesus and a Jesus-following life through your efforts, whether it be light-shining or darkness-taking-on.

together for the kingdom. but let us always ‘err’ on the side of Love.

[how about you? who do you follow on Twitter who brings life and light to your day? please leave their name and Twitter handle in the comments section]

aslan“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” [The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe: C.S.Lewis]

Continuing our look at how Jesus compares to Aslan [or is it the other way around?] in the C.S.Lewis Narnia series and the question of Him being good, but not necessarily safe or tame. Matthew 23 explodes this question right open.

There are three interesting things about this for me:

[1] Jesus is taking on the teachers of the law – the religious leaders of the day – the very people who were meant to be helping the average man and woman in the street to follow God well.

And He doesn’t take them on gently.

“Woe to you, blind guides!” [vs. 16]

“You blind fools!” [vs. 17]

“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? [vs. 33]

Similiar to when Jesus sends the money lenders out of the temple grounds, we see passion and anger and strong language here. Jesus is serious about this. The lion is opening His mouth and letting out a gut-wrenching roar for all He is worth.

Paul reminds us in a more subtle way in 1 Thessalonians 5.21 that we must always test the spirits – hold on to the good and avoid every kind of evil. In our modern day setting it is vital that we compare what we hear from the preacher or what we read or watch with the words in the Bible and if they do not measure up, to feel free to discard them and let them fall away. We need to be correct handlers of Truth.

[2] Jesus is accusing them of not living out what they teach:

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

[3] Jesus takes them on publically – none of this ‘just you and them business we always get pointed to in Matthew 18’

15 “If your brother or sister sins against you, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.’

And why not? Well maybe the key is in the first line where it says “sins against you” – what Jesus was taking on here was sin that affected the whole audience and so it needed to be dealt with publically. This can be a dangerous precedent to set [especially when it’s not Jesus doing the disciplining] but i believe there is a place for this [and have not found many who have vocally shared their agreement with me on this one]. My feeling is that if the preacher says something that is wrong and you deal with it with him alone, then everyone else has still heard the wrong thing and has no idea that it was wrong and so they will still take it on as truth. Perhaps this is why the Bible tells us there is a higher responsibility placed on those who preach/teach?

The audience needed to know that what the Pharisees were teaching and how they were living was not acceptable to God. 

As easy as it is to look down on the Pharisees and dismiss them, the primary objective of this story is for us to be reminded of the short distance between someone who follows Jesus and someone who becomes like them. I need to check my heart against the things that Jesus railed about in them and make sure that I do not fall into the same.

[To return to the beginning of this series to see the other posts, click here]

We continue the Aslan Jesus series with a post from my friend KleinFrans [he’s not!]:

aslan“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”

“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.

“Are – are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.

“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

This weekend, my lovely wife Michelle and I enjoyed an amazing weekend out at the Knysna Oyster Festival on the east coast of South Africa. On Saturday morning we ran the half marathon along with 6000 other forest enthusiasts (the whole race is run through the Knysna forest).

What really struck me this time was how much the running clothes, gear, strapping and shoes have changed over the last 5 years or so. Not just the colours but the technology that goes into this gear; the shoes are lighter, made for more impact absorption but also more bounce (?!), more aerodynamic running shorts/pants/shirts, lightweight earphones to keep the loud breathing from reaching your ears and 16G of music to last you at least 5 times as long as the battery will last.

I am a back of the pack runner. I will never win a race and neither did 5999 other runners. In fact, only 4633 crossed the finish line while only approximately 1076 runners broke 120 minutes. Looking at these stats, evidence is starting to stack up against all this technology “helping people run faster.” The simple fact is we don’t. We run the same. Yet, we still look for obtaining the best shoes, lightest clothes and more streamline gizmos. Every day, we spend our time looking for a lot of unnecessary things that helps little (if at all) in streamlining your life apart from making you feel better about yourself.

I look at my everyday life and wonder at the end of the day, what did I spend my time on today? More importantly, what did I spend my time on today looking for and advancing the Kingdom of God (Matt 6:33). Did I actively spend my time today getting to know Jesus? 

In the Sermon on the Mount, (Matt 5-7), Jesus is basically setting the standard for the divine kingdom of God and in Matt 7 he brings the sermon to a conclusion. But look here at Matt 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Note who the people are on whom the eternal door is closing (and there are “many”):

First of all, they say “Lord, Lord.” Kurios is the word translated in the Septuagint of the Old Testament for the name of Jehovah. These people are saying that they accept He is God and all that his deity involves. They say “Lord, lord” indicating their passion and commitment to Kurios.

Secondly they say three times, “in thy name, in thy name, in thy name.” We have been doing it for you Lord. It is respectful, it is zealous. They’re zealous in their public ministry of word and work. It sounds so good.

But the “safe Jesus” isn’t around when Jesus quotes from Psalm 6:8 and says in verse 23: ” And I will declare (confess, homologeo); I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness (iniquity).”

What a shock! Many did signs and wonders in Jesus’ name ! Depart from me !!! 

But look closely at the word “knew” (or know). The word “know” is used in the Bible of an intimate relationship. And Jesus says, “I never had any intimate relationship with you. Yes, you were around and I saw you doing things and running around in the church/community but I never had that intimacy with you.”

“Depart from me!!” Instead of living by these righteous principles that Jesus preached at the Sermon on the Mount, you always continue to do lawlessness. And instead of doing God’s will, His righteous standard (Matt 5 to 7), you always work lawlessness. Look at the Pharisees and the scribes; they were the MOST religious and professors of religion of their day! They had “churchianity” down to a science.

James (1:22-25) basically spells out the formula: faith minus works equals zero. Professing Christ means absolutely nothing if your life does not back it up. 

So what are you spending your time on? Running around doing things that matters little to the kingdom of God or are you “knowing” Christ actively?

“Depart from me” or “Enter into the joy of your master (Matt 25:21)”

“…that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

[For the next part on Jesus kicking some Pharasaical butt, click here]

aslan“I have come,” said a deep voice behind them. They turned and saw the Lion himself, so bright and real and strong that everything else began at once to look pale and shadowy compared with him.” [C.S. Lewis ‘The Silver Chair’]

There is a crowd. A mob, if you will. Kind of gives the imagery to me [internally at least] of the angry townsfolk armed with flaming torches and pitchforks storming the castle seeking the Frankenstein monster. Nothing can get in their way. Because they are an angry mob.

And so it is with this poor woman. Who, like the Frankenstein monster, is never given a name [Frankenstein was the name of the doctor who created him]. And like the monster, has been turned into this creature of shame, who has committed this evil act and must be brutally killed.

Enter Jesus, stage left…

John 8. 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

I suspect we lose a lot of the story by not being able to fully relate to or comprehend the times this was set in. Public stoning of adulterers is not something we have too much of an understanding of. And we know this is a trap to try and take down Jesus [and, as in the way Jesus deals with every attempt that is brought His way, we see His Aslan’ness – He is safe, but not tame – every single time the person who set the trap slinks away with their tail between their legs, shamed and caught out].

What I really enjoy about this story is like the opening Lewis quote – Jesus commands the attention of the crowd but not by loud noise or big action – simply by His Presence. You quickly get the feeling that all eyes are on Him. And then He slows it all down by asking the question that stops them all in their tracks. And then by bending down to write some mystery words on the ground.

One thing this does is it takes the crowd’s attention away from the woman caught in sin. And directs people’s attention to their own hearts. Oh wait, that’s me. Whoops. Oh dear. Um… cheque please!

One interesting thing I just now picked up on [and it is possibly more an internal thing than external, although you may have been able to visualise this to some extent if you were there] is how the posture is reversed. The woman is brought in shamed, face down, slinking in and humiliated while the crowd and the accusers stand tall and defiant, feeling justified and ready to catch this Jesus guy.

Then there is an encounter with Aslan Jesus. It is quiet. And gentle. And direct.

Suddenly the crowd are quiet. Their heads are bowed down. They are the ones slinking away, one by one. Their shame has been made apparent. Then Jesus puts the attention back on the woman, now that it is only Him and her. God’s gaze is fixed on the broken, trembling creation. He speaks words of life to her. Words that restore her dignity. And direct her towards a better way of living. And she walks away head up, confident, feeling loved and restored and feeling the hope that a second chance holds out.

What is really powerful about this story echoes the dual nature of the lion in the Narnia series – good, but not tame.

what might Jesus have writtenThere is a statement that God loves you so very much, no matter what you’ve done or where you currently are at in life.

There is a statement that God loves you so very much, that He refuses to let you settle for being in that place when there is a better place to be.

So I love you completely but go and sin no more. I created you for so much more than this. Keep walking with Me and drawing on the power of My Spirit and you will continue to be changed and grown towards the perfect creation I intended you to become.

[To read the next part on Enough being Enough, click here]

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