PIETAS

Matthew’s Spiritual Journey

Posts Tagged ‘Reflection

The God in the Cave

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This sketch of the human story began in a cave; the cave which popular science associates with the cave-man and in which practical discovery has really found archaic drawings of animals. The second half of human history, which was like a new creation of the world, also begins in a cave. There is even a shadow of such a fancy in the fact that animals were again present; for it was a cave used as a stable by the mountaineers of the uplands about Bethlehem; who still drive their cattle into such holes and caverns at night. It was here that a homeless couple had crept underground with the cattle when the doors of the crowded caravanserai had been shut in their faces; and it was here beneath the very feet of the passers-by, in a cellar under the very floor of the world, that Jesus Christ was born. But in that second creation there was indeed something symbolical in the roots of the primeval rock or the horns of the prehistoric herd. God also was a Cave-Man, and had also traced strange shapes of creatures, curiously coloured, upon the wall of the world; but the pictures that he made had come to life.

A mass of legend and literature, which increases and will never end, has repeated and rung the changes on that single paradox; that the hands that had made the sun and stars were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle. Upon this paradox, we might almost say upon this jest, all the literature of our faith is founded. It is at least like a jest in this, that it is something which the scientific critic cannot see. He laboriously explains the difficulty which we have always defiantly and almost derisively exaggerated; and mildly condemns as improbable something that we have almost madly exalted as incredible; as something that would be much too good to be true, except that it is true. …

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Written by Matthew

December 15, 2008 at 11:26 am

An Inversion

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God’s invasion of the world has wrought an inversion: God has reversed the positions of insiders and outsiders. Those who are in positions of authority and privilege reject Jesus and the message; even Jesus’ own disciples are slow to understand his teaching. Others, however—people of low or despised position in the social world of first-century Jewish culture—receive the gospel gladly. The lepers, the demon-possessed, the woman with a hemorrhage, the Syrophonecian woman, the little children, blind Bartimaeus, the nameless woman who anoints Jesus at Bethany for burial, the Gentile centurion at the cross—these are examples put forth by Mark of faithful response to Jesus. “Many who are the first will be the last, and the last will be first.” Those of us who are familiar with the story should not underestimate the shock of this inversion.

By Richard Hays, as quoted in the worship program (in pdf) at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on November 9

Written by Matthew

November 15, 2008 at 11:41 pm

To Be Remembered By A Meal

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Of all the means by which Jesus could have chosen to be remembered, he chose to be remembered by a meal…. The meal, one of humankind’s most basic and common practices, was transformed by Jesus into an occasion of divine encounter. It was in the sharing of food and drink that he invited his companions to share in the grace of God.

By C.T. McMahon, as quoted in the worship program (in pdf) at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on November 2

Written by Matthew

November 9, 2008 at 5:41 pm