Monday, 30 June 2008

Grace and Sin

This is by Naked Pastor...

grace and sin abound

Posted in thought by nakedpastor on the June 25th, 2008

The problem with grace is that you can’t control it. You can’t control the effects of it either. The results can be disastrous in a community context. In a milieu of grace where we can literally get away with murder, people get murdered. In a context of grace where we can safely admit our weaknesses and sins, weaknesses and sins abound. Because that’s the way we are bent. Which lead to the Roman heresy of concluding since grace abounds where sin abounds, grace must permit and even encourage sin and its expression so that grace can have greater expression. Unless people are jumping to this erroneous conclusion because of your teaching, then you are not teaching grace in its most true and radical form.

My God! My community is in such a mess! Sometimes I pine for the old days when a little bit of religious expectation could lay an attractive veneer over all our crap. But what we are seeing in our community is what’s really here. Why hide it? Why pretend it isn’t here? It IS here! Let’s face it. We all, ALL like sheep have gone astray and there isn’t one of us who is without sin. Not one! Here is bitterness, unbelief, depression, hatred, lust, adultery, promiscuity, separations and divorces, abuse, theft, laziness, lying, drugs and drunkenness, etc.. It’s all here! And it’s all there too, whether you admit it or not. All our feet are swift to shed blood. Not one foot is innocent. I’m always suspicious when people claim that revival has happened in a certain place and everything is just wonderful praise god. What has really happened is that sin has been driven deeper underground.

When I think about “church” this all makes me want to give up. But when I’m thinking right and am thinking about the people, the fellowship of my community, then I’m still in the game. No matter how chaotic it gets. Because this is how I’ve been treated. This is what grace does. Doesn’t it?

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WOW!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Give us a kiss


video

This video has been banned because of complaints about its 'inappropriate' content.  I think people have completely missed the point of the advert!  It is clever and funny marketing in my opinion.  I have no idea why people have made such a fuss.  Its got people talking though so I'm sure Heinz will benefit from it in the long run anyway!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Causeway Quiz Night



Looking forward to another quiz night at the Vic.  Might see you there!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Farmer Joe

I'm in the middle of digging my first ever vegetable garden!  

I've got the top soil...A lOT of top soil and I'm taking a breather from shoveling it.  The guy who delivered it put it in the middle of the church car park!  So I can't even leave it for a bit but have to shift the whole lot asap!  I'm tired!  Didn't realise how un-fit and weak I was since I stopped being an oyster fisherman.  Need to work out more I think.

Looking forward to finishing it though and growing my own fruit and veg.  Got some cabbages growing already in a pot so I can transfer them.  Mum is gonna come and give me some help. She's a pro at this sort of thing. 

It struck me actually that if I pull this off and grow some food, and plenty of it, I could share it with the flats behind my house.  If a few of us grow stuff here on Mersea we could easily give away food to those who are struggling to make needs meet each week.  See what happens first though! My gardening skills leave a lot to be desired!  Hopefully I'll be able to grow some bits!

Anyway, must get back to my digging...    

Tuesday, 10 June 2008


Causeway on Sunday evening will be looking at Peak Oil and our response to it. Sam is coming to chat to us. Looking forward to it. Be interesting to hear people's opinions. Everyone is welcome! Might see you there.



Monday, 2 June 2008

Suffering

This is my response to the Theodicy meme I was tagged in.  


Mark 15:33-39

At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  When some of those standing near heard this, they said, "Listen, he's calling Elijah."  One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down," he said.  With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.  The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"

Stand with me at the scene of the cross.  Here there is no Easter Sunday, no glorious resurrection.  No, here we are faced with the cross.  Right here right now is our reality.  Right here at the cross, right now at the cross is all we know.  We have walked with Jesus as he taught with authority and wisdom.  We have marvelled with the crowds as he healed the sick and raised the dead.  We have celebrated with singing as this young Galilean rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey, seemingly the Messiah we had all been waiting for.  Yet now we stand in the darkness of this scene of crucifixion, and all that has gone before seems distant, irrelevant and worthless.  For before our eyes hangs this man, this same man.  How do you respond to the man on the cross?

Darkness envelops the land and now as our eyes squint and strain through the darkness we feel relieved because we cannot see as clearly the fullness of the horror of the scene.  The darkness now seems to hide it.  But then what our eyes miss our ears do not, and a gut wrenching sound echoes out in the midst of the darkness.

 

‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

 

Here at this sound the darkness of the land cannot hide the reality of the scene before us.  Here at this sound our ears do not need to strain to know what is happening, for here at this sound we glimpse the truth of the horror of the event.  This God-Man is god-forsaken.  

His cry comes from the depths of his heart, for here he is alone, here he is abandoned.  He is in torment, a place of unimaginable pain.  Surely for Jesus, here the darkness is accompanied by silence.  Here no longer can he hear his Father’s voice calling him the delight of his life.

As Jesus hangs on the cross the power of sin, death and darkness unleash its worst upon him.  

As we hear the depths of despair in the voice of the Son of God, how do we respond to the man on the cross?  Do we stand and discuss together what his cry might mean; cold to the reality of the suffering he endures?  Or do we leave the group for a second and present Jesus a token offering on the end of a stick, as though it might soften the weight of cross that hangs on his back?  How do you respond to the man on the cross? 

As Jesus hangs in darkness, do we concede that it has overcome him?  Has the Light of the World been extinguished for good?  As sin, evil and death unleash their worst onto Jesus, as the horror of separation and abandonment confront him at the cross, is this the end?  Is it finished? 

When glimpsing the horror of the scene, hearing the depth of the despair, and as we hear Jesus cry out and see the way he died, do we, with the centurion, say surely this man was the Son of God?  Do we declare he has got what he has deserved?  Do we mock him?  Do we stare coldly? 

Here in such starkness and brutality, God reveals himself to us.  How then will you respond to the man on the cross?