Day: 15/01/2017

Bible in One Year – Week 2 #BiOY

Having resolved this yearn to join with my church family (and many others) in reading the whole bible this year, I intend to hold myself accountable by sharing a key personal learning point each week.

This week I really noticed the barriers pride and familiarity can pose to belief.

As Jesus sends out the twelve apostles, he is mindful that there will be those who will not hear their message, and warns of the consequences of their unbelief:

‘And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgement for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.’
– Matthew 10:13-14

The comparison with the judgement of the city of Sodom is revisited in the next chapter as the people of three cities located at the north end of the Sea of Galilee have clearly not repented after hearing Jesus’s teaching:

‘he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgement for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgement for the land of Sodom than for you.’
– Matthew 11:20-24

I was reminded of the account in Mark’s gospel where the people of Jesus’s own town were so familiar with the Jesus they thought they knew that they could not perceive him as anything other than the man they had known for so many years:

‘He went away from there and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour, except in his home town and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief.’
– Mark:6-15

‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ is a well-known idiom, and I am sure many will recognise the challenges of witnessing to close friends and family and friends who don’t share the same faith – those who know all our faults and failings which then act as a barrier to their own conviction.

The Spirit’s Whispers

O how sweet the sound,
how exquisite the fragrance –
the Spirit’s whispers
breathing through my consciousness
in divine revelation

Today’s prompt at The Daily Post is: “exquisite

What is Unseen is Eternal

through our God’s mercy,
His Spirit of righteousness –
we shall not lose heart;
we do not use deception,
employ secret ways,
nor do we distort His words –
truth set forth plainly;
commend ourselves to conscience
in the sight of God;
to those who are perishing,
the gospel is veiled –
unbelieving minds blinded,
unable to see the light –
the glory of Christ,
the very image of God;
we preach Christ as Lord,
submit ourselves as servants
for Jesus’s sake;
‘Let light shine out of darkness,’
God’s glory displayed;
His light shines in our hearts –
the knowledge of Him,
the face of Jesus Christ;
So then fix your eyes
upon the unseen;
what is seen on earth passes,
what is unseen is eternal

written in the style of a ‘Choka’ as suggested by the dVerse Poets’ Pub:

“The Choka or ‘Long Poem’ is believed to be the most intricate of Japanese poetry and was used to tell a story; many were epic with over 100 lines.  This form was popular between the 1st and 13th centuries, the earliest example was discovered in the 1st century and described a battle.  It was 149 lines long.  The Choka had a tradition of being recited in a high-pitched voice. This form is based on a series of Katauta joined together. The Katauta is considered the basic unit of Japanese poetry using either the 17 (5-7-5) unit onji or the 19 (5-7-7) unit onji.  In Western terms an onji is what we call a syllable.  Many of us are familiar with these particular onji as we have used them in writing haiku, tanka and sedoka. The Choka is an unrhymed poem alternating five and seven syllables that ends with an extra seven syllable line. You can use the 17 or 19 onji (syllable) style.  It can be any number of lines that you choose.”

This Choka also draws on yesterday’s prompt at The Daily Post: “unseen”, and is inspired by 2 Corinthians 4.