Moses and Moaning

I listened to a talk about Moses in which his reluctance to heed God’s call was highlighted. The speaker suggested that five times Moses tried to evade God’s instruction, despite hearing from God direct at the bush that burned but was not consumed (in Exodus chs. 3-4):

  • 3:11 Moses said ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh…’
  • 3:13 Moses said ‘If I go to the Israelites … what shall I say to them?’
  • 4:1 Moses answered ‘Suppose they do not believe me…’
  • 4:10 Moses said ‘I have never been eloquent…’
  • 4:13 Moses said ‘Please send someone else…’

The point the speaker made was that Moses moved ‘from weakness to strength’ when he did eventually respond to God. But I was much more struck by reflecting on the process by which Moses reached that point.

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‘Until the storms of destruction pass by’ : Living under threat.

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    till the storms of destruction pass by. (Ps 57:1, ESV)

Preparing to ‘weather out’ the current epidemic through staying at home brought to mind this verse. Waiting for the virus to pass has something of the feel of waiting for a storm to pass.

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Book review – Greater Things: The story of New Wine so far

Greater things cover image

Two weeks ago I attended the launch of this book (full citation below) which tells the story of New Wine on its 30th anniversary. It has been a very stimulating read as it narrates and reflects on a movement which has had widespread influence on the Christian church in the UK and beyond. The title is taken from John 14:12 and the teaching of Jesus that ‘whoever believes in me … will do even greater things than these’. It thus identifies New Wine at the outset as a movement of people seeking to follow the example of Jesus and perpetuate his ‘works’.

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‘Take Courage’ : A reflection for Good Friday

On a few occasions recently (through Lent) I’ve been reflecting on fear and courage.

At some superficial level, these are opposites. Either you are afraid, or you overcome fear by having courage. The Bible verse most likely to be cited in support of this is Joshua 1:9 ‘I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.’

However, it can sometimes be acknowledged that if you do not have any fear, then you hardly need be courageous, since there is no inhibiting factor to overcome. So it may well be that fear and courage are more intimately intertwined than they are opposites. Continue reading “‘Take Courage’ : A reflection for Good Friday”Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Interpretation of Love

“The difficulty, as I see it, is when we place the authority of our particular interpretation of the Bible … beyond question and above the gospel imperative to love.” This quotation comes from a letter published in the Church Times a couple of weeks ago. It leapt out at me as soon as I read it, and I have been wondering ever since whether I am alone in seeing a more fundamental ‘difficulty’ in this thinking. Continue reading “The Interpretation of Love”Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

“Are we nearly there yet?”

I was chatting with a friend recently, who was anticipating a long journey with children. We talked about the expectation of that familiar question, the irritation that it might provoke, and strategies for making the journey less wearisome for all.

When I am waiting, I want to know how long it is likely to be for. Sometimes, this is because there may be an alternative. Or perhaps because there is the possibility of doing something while I am waiting. Continue reading ““Are we nearly there yet?””Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail