[first published in the monthly congregational Notes for February, 2020.]
If you have never read John Bunyan’s classic book, The Pilgrim’s Progress (or if you have previously only read a shortened children’s version a long time ago) why not make a “February Resolution” to read it this year? I doubt you will regret it and there should still be plenty of copies in local libraries, and perhaps even audio copies of professional readings to listen to. The story is an allegory and narrates the journey of a man who travels from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City, via the Cross. As he goes, the man, originally called Graceless but soon renamed Christian, meets many challenges. Some of these come from the nature of the journey, some come from companions who eventually proved false and some represent spiritual battles and challenges that he must face from…continue reading
[First published in the monthly congregational “Notes” for January, 2020]
A few years ago I enjoyed a session in a flight simulator for a Boeing 737. Everything was exactly as it would be in a real aircraft except for the lack of bumps and jolts that surely would have been felt if I had been flying a real plane. I managed to take off and land at Tullamarine without crashing. One can even say that taxiing, taking off and flying are all relatively easy especially if it does not really matter where we choose to go!! But landing safely at a given destination is the hard part and getting there and not crashing along the way is essential to that. While all the maze of instruments have their place and understanding them all is part of the art of flying, the Artificial Horizon Indicator is one of the most important…continue reading
[First published in the monthly congregational “Notes” for December, 2019.]
If we are familiar with the narrative of the Wise Men [Matt 2:1-12] we will have heard often Micah’s most well-known prophecy, when the priests of the day, confidently paraphrasing Micah 5:2-4, told Herod that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. More than 700 years earlier, God had promised someone from Bethlehem who would be Ruler, who would be from of Old (Hebrew idiom for ‘very ancient’, even ‘eternal’). This One would feed Israel like a Shepherd in the strength and majesty of the Lord, and He would also be great “to the ends of the earth.” No wonder Herod was upset.
That was not all that Micah said. He had also spoken of a remnant gathered together into a flock (2:12) and a strong nation (4:7) from among the many people where they…continue reading