Madrid is open!!

More to follow in coming days, but last night we slept in an apartment we bought and signed for a few hours earlier. Been an adventure so have not posted on the process as there were a number of complications along the way. Yesterday the possibility was that we made a payment before signing – the owner then did not need to sign, would have his mortgage paid off, still own the apartment and we be a sum of money down and no apartment. There was approximately an hour when this could happen. The estate agent, who sought to help us all along, came up with a plan. It was to trap him in the back of their car – it being a two door car would mean he could not escape!! Eventually we were able to complete in 2 hours. The critical part being able to buy without the debt on the apartment being transferred to us. As far as we are aware we are successful…

Last night we opened the letter box.’You have 2 days to settle the electricity bill before legal proceedings begin’… Nice one!! So off to the bank – can only be paid at certain banks (don’t ask why!) and told – sorry you can only pay this on certain days, at certain hours – next slot is next Wednesday. Quick count and that is more than 2 days away… Found another way to do it, so we will continue to have electricity. PHEW.

A few more practical things to go of paying of bills and taxes. At least in Madrid one only (?) pays 6% of the cost of purchase in tax to the government (in Valencia we paid 10%!).

A couple more nights on a blow up mattress… but happy.

10 years ago we moved to Spain. 7 years ago we left Mallorca en route to Madrid via Cádiz. Had another diversion via dreams to Oliva and now!!

In the summer it became very clear that we cannot see the shifts we need remotely from Oliva but needed to be in Madrid to do so. If you have followed a little of our journey then you will know that the ‘success’ of the passing in parliament to get Franco’s body removed from the Valley of the Fallen was then responded to the push to have him reburied in Madrid. We went to the actual site in the crypt where he was to be reburied and prayed last time in Madrid. Breaking news from this morning is that the government has now blocked that possibility. Madrid is open and we are no longer just pushing ‘lock / unlock’ remotely.

Much more to come I am sure.

The photo… We were given a prophecy that our arrival in Madrid would be on a magic carpet. Gayle bought a carpet a while back. We have sat on it in Oliva and the photo is of the landing (well at least in our imagination!).

Which bag for my money?

Christmas time is here. I am sure there will be many presents given and received. Maybe someone will receive a present of a new wallet / purse to keep all their worldly wealth in. Apparently Scripture seems to be offering two options this Christmas. One that was modelled way back in time set in a garden, and the other proposed by none other than a self confessed ‘chief of sinners’ and called as an apostle.

The two bags are consumerism and contentment.

I have suggested that the original sin is that of consumerism. The garden gives us a very generous setting – eat of all the trees, except for one. Only one tree forbidden! That is minimal restriction, indicating that whatever restrictions we embrace when responding to the call to follow Jesus, the reality is that there is enormous freedom within that call. The language of:

  • I saw
  • I desired
  • I took

is the language of consumerism, and when set in the context of generosity is appalling, yet this is so common. When one has nothing it is understandable that someone should look and desire and seek to take, but when someone has so much there is that drive to obtain the one thing one does not have. I really need… Really need what? A bigger house, a newer car? We need?

The issue with the advertising world is that it suggests a lack that can only be filled with obtaining of something that we do not have. It comes close to robbing us of our dignity and identity only to sell it back at the price of the product. Consumerism does not open the door to growth because it works on the negative value of discontentment. In the garden there was the possibility of great growth provided we were willing to set contentment boundaries. So to the second money wallet / purse.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Phil. 4:11-13).

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:6-10).

Contentment is not easy, and certainly comparison often leading to jealousy does not serve us well. Poverty is not seen as a blessing in Scripture, but to confuse financial prosperity with a sign of God’s blessing is likewise to miss the mark. Passivity is not to be equated to contentment, but thankfulness is probably the best and nearest companion to true contentment.

Contentment is the polar opposite to the consumerist spirit of this age. Maybe this Christmas I might just try one more time to look at the gift contentment might be to my soul.

And as I leave this post, I step back in amazement, realising that I was almost reflective in what I wrote.

Happy Christmas one and all!

A new Europe?

At this time there seems to be so much fear of the ‘other’, expressing itself in xenophobia and centring in on a response to issue of immigration. There are real issues involved, and certainly there might be many good reasons for having voted ‘Brexit’ and a vote to leave cannot be blamed for what is rising negatively in Europe. Maybe though it has inadvertently made a contribution to what we are witnessing in many places of separation from and exclusion of the ‘other’.

The rise in the extreme right is not limited to the European context. Leaders have used rhetoric that has not helped and I think that there are three aspects that has resulted:

  • what has been present there already has been revealed. It is not as if the negative aspects I mentioned above have suddenly appeared from nowhere. They were there prior to Brexit and prior to the rhetoric of leaders.
  • what was there has been fed. This is a serious situation. Leadership rhetoric has permissioned what was there, and once permissioned there has been a growth.
  • it has hidden another narrative. This is an encouraging aspect and one that I had not considered prior to these days of discussion and prayer. There is another narrative, one of recognising that there is a shift to the identity of our world, that the future is going to look different, that those seeking to Europe for safety will be among those shaping the future. This narrative seeks to look at the situation with faith rather than self protection.

This narrative that is hidden has to be the shaping narrative for the church. It is the resistance to fear and an openness to the future. Prior to these days I had not seen that this narrative is present, rising from the grass roots. This is what gives hope for the future. Stories such as those from Germany of many finding faith when they have relocated should encourage the church enormously. Surely in the move from their homelands God is at work to reveal himself.

Another aspect of our praying was to see a shift from an over-Western orientation. This would impact on a shift from a male-dominated / masculine-bias to a more female / feminine approach to issues and relationships. A further shift in the economic base.

One of the aspects that we can see visibly, certainly in Spain, is that there are changes already taking place where there is a greater femininity in politics that promotes a third way beyond conflict and opposition to that of dialogue.

One of the participants read from a book reflecting on native north Americans’ experience of the Europeans who came with their different cultural values. That colonial encroachment and domination is always a provocation, but it prompted a new language. Rather than ‘then the Europeans came…’ to the concept of in the current scenario that the new Europeans ‘arrived’. There has to be a new Europe and that is more than the reshaping of an institution (EU) but is with all those who are committed to the geography, that means all of us, all of us who are arriving now – even if we have been present before. Again the concept of the body of Christ modelling this is the challenge before us.

The final aspect that I will reflect on here is that – and this is a push theologically – that we should be expecting people to rise up who are committed to doing an ‘apostolic’ job in and through society. It seems

  • our responsibility to hold the shape so that they can emerge;
  • that it is immaterial whether they are believers or not;
  • that when they get in place we need to pray for their protection. It is easy for us believers to be alert to spiritual attack (mainly in the form of betrayal in these settings) but someone who does not believe in spiritual realities is not going to be alert to this.

The photo above the article is of the parliament building in Strasbourg. The building is modelled on Bruegel’s painting of the tower of Babel.

The Tower of Babel

The similarity can be read as a clear sign that the EU is simply Babel… and it is in as much as there is Babel within all institutions, or as seems to be symbolism, the EU is a project that will never be finished, and if the attempt is simply to raise it up from the earth it is doomed for failure. A place therefore to contribute I consider.

Where to Europe?

The final four days we spent in the UK was with 20 other people from England, Ireland, Wales, Spain, Germany, France and Sweden to consider how to pray into the future of Europe with the ‘Brexit’ somewhat as a background. A very good and trusted prophetic friend had emailed most of those in the above group with a vision that she had very soon after there was an announcement that there would be a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. The summary of that vision was that the UK would be removed and in that time light and colour would drain out of the European continent, but at a later stage there would be a re-connection and a corresponding shift in the continent. An obvious, and possible, interpretation to the former part was that the referendum would be a vote ‘out’. And given that this vision preceded any referendum we have given it a lot of weight. The context though that our friend said was that this next season was more about the future of Europe than of the future of the UK.

Our days were less focused on the Brexit than on where to Europe. However, it was interesting that although the dates were set months ago the context of the debate and total lack of clarity was the context for our gathering.

(Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor)

We met in Ashburnham Place, a most remarkable centre, given the geography of an event that shaped England with the Norman Invasion of 1066. An event that only left the city of London free – and the origins to this day of its status that allows it to be one of the ‘treasure islands’ that can defy taxation laws. Ashburnham Place as a land is also most interesting in that it was originally part of land that was apportioned by William’s conquest but had been given away freely. The sense of the land being free was tangible and gave a real leverage point.

With reference to the loss of light and colour for some time we have considered that this loss is embodied in the rise of xeno- and other phobias, the demonisation of ‘immigrants’, the rise of fascism and the like in almost all European nations. This suggests that there has to be a shift in the UK if there is to any level of re-plugging to bring about a change in Europe. Prior to meeting I would have been very negative about any such change being possible, but having been in England for these past two weeks. But I am convinced that there is a real (and maybe still hidden) shift taking place as I sensed the biggest spiritual change in England in the 10 years we have been in Spain.

Whether the Brexit is abandoned or not is not the key issue. The EU has evolved and has many flaws for sure, though with the vision of being together to avoid the horrors of war, my strong preference would be to see it reformed from the inside. The primary aspect of the future is not reversing the Brexit but for something to rise that is inclusive of the ‘alien, widow and orphan’ so that a new Europe can arise.

Rather than prolonging this post I will post again tomorrow…

A pre-Christmas post!!

This post will not have much to do with Christmas, just flagging up that I have made it well through December and hardly posted at all, but this will be in cyber space before Rudolph and his partners are in the air.

I am sure I could have posted these past days, but we have been ever so busy. Twelve days in the UK. Probably the longest stint there in these past 10 years, taking in Chester, Leicester, North London, Leatherhead (family) and Ashburnham Place. It was a really great time and I probably won’t be able to do it justice in this post.

The diversity of the body of Christ is always a joy to touch, and there is, I am sure, more to come of the diversity. In Chester I had some personal time with Andy and Sue Glover who have faithfully held in at many levels for the health of the city. I was also there (unplanned) for the last prayer breakfast before one of the key families relocated to France. An expansion of boundaries for sure.

In Leicester I was privileged to address in the morning and early afternoon church leaders, followed by an evening in a prophetically orientated Anglican church. And down in Ashburnham Gayle and I met with 20 others over 3 days to pray into the future European shape, partly in response to the ‘Brexit’.

The above is a brief ‘what’ and ‘where’. It would not be possible to recount blow by blow each place so I will rather summarise a few points below.

In the various times of coming to the UK over the past 10 years I was convinced this time that there is something ‘brewing’ in England. There is an increasing apostolic call and mantle. This will manifest in a diversities of ways. Encouragingly I was given very positive statistics of growth in London, mainly among Afro-Caribbean and Anglican churches. There is a new wave of activity there. There will also need to be a turning to society where there is an apostolic release also coming (more below). When in Chester Andy asked Sue (as I was coming silently down the stair case so that we could leave): ‘I wonder if he is ready?’ I jokingly said that was such a penetrating question! But I quickly sensed the Holy Spirit was saying that England is ready. (We will also feel unready, things not done that we should have done, and of course that is the case, but there is a real readiness in the nation.)

Before coming over I had a dream in which I went to a place where there were many good things happening including miracles. I was told of the clarity of voice and direction. However, when I looked out I saw that the people were all pretty much the same colour of skin and of ethnic background. I had to then say that God can speak through a donkey, or a white faced person, and that what was said was the word of God, but that the richness of his voice is as the sound of many waters and that until there was a reflection of the diversity of ethnicity there will never be the fullness of God’s voice. His fullness comes when the diversity means we cannot easily hear but are deeply impacted. (In Leicester I also prophesied that there was coming now an increased move of the Spirit among the Asian community.)

The second aspect was that of being called to ‘straighten the spine’ of England. I did not realise that in Leicester the discovery of King Richard’s body was confirmed by the fact that the skeleton’s spine was twisted. The spine must become straight but flexible. A strong but flexible spine will mean that the body can extend further than ever.

I will post another time to reflect a little more on our time in Ashburnham, but will simply note one element here that has been something strongly on my heart for some time. It is that God is not simply looking for forerunners for the church, but that there will be those who will open up space for true forerunners to rise up in all the areas of society. Gayle and I have come home with the increased provocation to pray for their protection. They are vulnerable. If we (believers) have some understanding of spiritual opposition we might be able to withstand some of the attacks, but for those who do not know Jesus we now sense we have a greater responsibility to stand for them. There is an apostolic (foundation laying) mantle coming for society. In the chaos of Brexit and the European scene this might not look likely, but of this I am convinced. Those with a wisdom who see a third way through the extremes, deeply practical but with vision. They are coming… and as many of them will not profess faith we can be the ones who raise a shield around them.

SHARE ON:

Post PermaLink

Where, how and what

A historic election took place last night in the Southern comunidad of mainland Spain in Andalucia. Historic as there was the breaking of a 36 year hold by a particular party, but more historic in the level of vote a new ultra-right party received. At one level a resurgence of Francoism, using the language of, for example, ReConquista, but positioned within the rise of the popularist and nationalistic ultra-right across Europe. Two further provocative aspects for us… the entry in the South, and the birth of the new party leader in Bilbao (the north). Some 4 years ago we went the first time to Bilbao to make a declaration that from there new thinking will come forth into Spain. We left though to pray for the richness of diversity within unity.

I had an email recently from someone who in passing asked a question about the EU, stating that I was ‘for the EU’. Maybe I am… maybe I am not. It is far from perfect, and not being a fan of bureaucracy and red tape it is not too difficult to see why anyone could find one or two reasons to resist the ‘beast’ (small ‘b’ as this applies to all power bases that control). With the EU there seems to be two choices – get out for the above reasons or try to stay in and see change. Pulling back, strengthening national sovereignty and seeing the breakup of the EU is more likely, in my opinion, to further strengthen what we saw last night in Spain. And it is the future that could spring from last night that is the concern. Living in mainland Europe it is probably not surprising that I am ever hopeful if we can hang in together that there will be change, particularly as the EU, in measure, acts as a lever to weaken the sovereignty expressed in nationhood.

I am not a political animal as I have so little understanding of how it works and what really ‘left’ or ‘right’ means, but I have many concerns about what is rising. When we pull back, when we have language that seeks to exclude all others of a different opinion, parties that seek to shut the freedom of the press then there is great concern for the future. The election in Andalucia last night certainly was an earthquake and a strong sign that the past can come back around.

We live at a point in history when the unthinkable could bite. Whatever the future of the EU, whatever finally (!!) outworks with respect to the Brexit, we will continue to pull for friendship across the borders, co-operation, a weakening of sovereignty so that borders are not shut inhumanely. One has to be optimistic when we know that we have access to prayer. Prayer to go deeper – yes we will have to go deeper – and pull up roots, and to connect with imagination for the future.

An earthquake last night? Maybe. A wake up call? Certainly. A provocation? Indeed.

SHARE ON:

Post PermaLink

Listen and speak

I am in the process of thinking about writing a few books that would try and bring together the many random thoughts that have developed over the past 10 years. The 10 years prior to moving to Spain were years of travel with an emphasis on how history shapes a geography spiritually (the land being the place where the corporate memory is held) and then how the church is to be a redemptive presence to remove the effects of the past and connect with and release the gift of the geography. The last ten years have been marked by a greater desire to see how the body of Christ can be repositioned within the world as a priesthood for the nations. Anyway those are my reflections and into that are continual thoughts about social transformation. So recently as I have been writing I am thinking about God’s ear and his voice, at least as far as concerning oppression.

God’s ear is turned toward the one oppressed and his voice comes to challenge the one oppressing.

We read:

The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob (Exod. 3: 23,24).

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering”(Exod. 3:7).

The ear of the Lord is toward the oppressed. He hears their cry. He then responds to the cry and commissions Moses.

And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt. (Exod. 3:9,10).

In response Moses is commissioned to speak to Pharaoh. Moses does not incite the people to riot and rebel, but is sent to speak to Pharaoh thus delegitimising his control and oppression over others. The word of the Lord so often comes to those with power to repent and come down from their position of control, independence and abuse. ‘Woe to you…’ is what we read to such people, whereas we often read ‘blessed are you…’ to those who are at the receiving end of such abuse.

If the Lord’s ear is toward the oppressed so that he hears the cry but his mouth is directed toward those who are the reason for the cry of the oppressed this surely must position the church with her ear and mouth turned in the same direction. God does not do everything. He calls, commissions and acts with those called and commissioned. It is the church’s responsibility to listen and speak.

The cry of the land, the groan of creation in bondage comes to the ‘sons and daughters’ who have found freedom and glory. There is a longing in creation to come to the same destiny, for creation to become all that it was meant to be. That cry is not always a pretty sound, nor an articulated sound, and certainly seldom is it a pure sound. Most pain sounds are not pretty! Therein lies the challenge. It can be easy to write off an impure sound, or an oppression that expresses itself in a less than attractive way, and in the process to miss the cry for freedom. It can even be easy to fail to listen but to speak to that impure sound and rebuke it. How many cries for freedom have we missed, and if we have missed them how many opportunities to be agents of change have we missed (and I am thinking more corporately than individually on this)?

Likewise it can be to easy to run with the status quo and not address the powers. And maybe speaking is not possible until we first listen?

SHARE ON:

Post PermaLink

Challenges…

A while back (2015 – 40 years after his death) we prayed at the tomb of Franco asking as a sign that ‘an earthquake would go throughout Spain’. Two months later in the biggest shake up in Spanish politics most newspaper headlines were ‘a political earthquake has gone through the whole of Spain’ with commentary that the results had never taken place in the period of the democracy. Then last summer we visited Franco’s birth place to cut off the roots. The next day the government passed that his body would be removed from the Valley of the Fallen. We rejoiced!!

We have just visited Madrid for 48 hours and one of our ‘projects’ was to visit the Cathedral where the Franco family want to have his body re-buried. This would not be good as the Cathedral is easily accessible and the tomb could become a shrine to Nazism. We have been very aware of the battle since the summer. One of the aspects we have discovered is that we can get a breakthrough and that the whole situation seems to come back around with a vengeance. It is a learning curve for us and we are seeing that we need to go to a level deeper each time.

The image is of Franco’s only direct offspring’s tomb in the family crypt that they purchased. How to go deeper? Well we prayed for sure, but placed a blade of grass on the tomb among the fresh flowers. A blade of grass! Grass has its time. Grows and withers. There is a time that is over… so we put down the blade of grass, prayed, then went to the entrance to the crypt saying not in here.

SHARE ON:

Post PermaLink

By all means compromise

I am such a purist. Egaliterian, non-hierarchical, opposing the imperial spirit. I could go on with such an impressive resumé. (You know what I am writing is so true!) Yet when I come to how God works he is not the purist that I am. He has an amazing ability to compromise.

God shows up in the midst of Empire. Even the British Empire and the spread of missions went hand in hand… the Roman Empire with its one world government was useful for communication and the road systems for travel. The Gospel spread around the then known world at an amazing rate. (Bizarrely this was how some used to explain the phrase of Jesus coming at ‘the fullness of time’. Imagine it – God just waiting for the help he needed from those wonderful Caesars!) And the OT example of God not wanting a king (and by the third generation of kings, Solomon ‘the wise’ becomes just a new Pharaoh) yet he anoints the king. He did not want a Temple but his glory showed up… he did not want priests but… All of that just plainly narks me a lot… until I realise he has shown up once or twice with me too so I don’t complain too loudly.

Compromise. To connect we have to meet, and if for example I connect with a Roman catholic priest I do not assume they are wrong in the sense that God has not called them. But I do not kiss my brains good bye and go seek being ordained or changing my beliefs. There is an element where I have to decide what carries integrity for me, what are the lines I cannot personally cross, and at the same time I cannot draw those lines for someone else.

Here are some thoughts on where we compromise (I am not talking morally):

  • We have to keep our personal integrity. We know what our personal lines are.
  • We have to decide what we can do, or if there something we need to do, that is a compromise for the sake of the Gospel. (I was once challenged that I needed to take out my ear ring if I was to ‘minister’ – I simply had one internal question: for the sake of the Gospel do I refuse, or for the sake of the Gospel do I comply. The answer can differ in different situations.)
  • If we make a compromise it needs to be redemptive so that we help move things forward and not leave them there in the place where we connected.
  • If we put some structures in place they need to be as temporary as possible. Sadly it is easier to start something than stop it – hence I see the Sabbath, the 7 year fallow, the 50 year Jubilee being to force a break. Apostolic teams might be helpful at a stage but they quickly default to a set of churches ‘belonging’ to the apostle – Paul was clear that all ministries belong to the body of Christ, not the other way round. The default is to structural domination – as illustrated by the biblical material on ‘the city’ and exemplified by Babylon.
  • Empire is a spirit. Within empires there are good kings and bad ones. But kingship was not of God – it was a rejection of God! If we do not have our eyes open to the spirit of the empire and we do something that is birthed out of a desire for position we will end up coming under that spirit. My point in my initial paragraph is that God compromises functionally for redemptive purposes, and if we decide we need do this in a given situation we have to realise what we are doing is a compromise otherwise we will come under the spirit of compromise and lose our integrity today… or tomorrow.

Not great words of wisdom in the above but simply a few thoughts. We do nothing based on that what we do is better than someone else but that we have to live out of our convictions and then interact and work with others who have different convictions.

SHARE ON:

Post PermaLink

Wrong sight and we might partner with demons

In a recent post I suggested that when we dehumanise people we contribute toward demonising them. The word ‘demonise’ is often used when, for example, politicians are accused of creating a target enemy through fear. ‘You are demonising them’, is the retort. I am, though, meaning something beyond that, in that I give credence to the work of demons. Maybe I have blogged enough on this but I think there is a little more in this post that I will explore. So first a step back to lay out where I am coming from.

I have been seeking to find a way of looking at sin not simply as law-breaking. It is law-breaking, but I am not convinced that is what is at the root. The law-breaking is a result not a definition. Sin starts through not seeing God as who s/he is. In the Garden the generosity of God is seen through only restricting the wonderful risky adventure of life with only one prohibition. ‘Eat of all the trees except…’ There has to be a restriction to determine choice, and God makes the restriction as small as it could be. The temptation begins with a questioning of God’s character, of how s/he is perceived. The serpent paints a picture of God as restricting to limit growth, whereas God’s restriction is to enable growth. Sin is to fail to live up to the revelation of who God is, not to break some arbitrary law. The temptation successfully distorted the image of God.

Likewise Israel is not a nation called to live by laws but in response to the gracious call of God she is to live out her life in a certain way. This way will reflect her faith in God, an ordered society with room for the ‘widow, orphan and alien’. She is defined not primarily by race but by faith. Her failures are witnessed when they fail to see who God is. Law breaking can be catalogued but the root issue is their loss of true sight of God.

If we then move away from law-breaking as defining sin and to another approach to understanding the ‘missing the mark’ sense, we can come up with a connection to the second half of Paul’s statement in Romans 3:23. After he writes ‘all / both have sinned’ he goes on to write: ‘and fallen short of the glory of God’. If sin is tied to glory we can then understand it is to fail to live out the glory of God. Glory is revealed in the tabernacle and in the temple but ultimately and completely in Jesus who ‘tabernacled among us.’ That glory was seen, and it was seen to be full of grace and truth. Glory was seen in a human.

In 2 Cor. 3:17-19 Paul says that we might not be getting a totally clear view of the glory of God but the sight we do get is transforming us into the image we see ‘from one degree of glory to another’. Likewise John writes

When he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is (1 Jn. 3:2).

Clearer sight transforms, and ultimately when we see him with total clarity (‘as he is’) we will be like him. We will be glorified. Before that time there is the call to be transformed from one degree of glory to another, and the increase of glory is in relationship to how clearly we see the ‘image’.

It is the spirit of antiChrist that denies Jesus came in the flesh (1 Jn. 4:2,3). This statement is a huge affirmation of humanity, but also a huge declaration about who God is. Jesus, God in the flesh, reveals God. The glory of God was seen in Jesus, the human. The spirit of antiChrist has a God different to the one revealed by Jesus. He is the starting point, the central focus; he is not simply the lens for Scripture, but the only lens through which God can be clearly seen.

That which does not elevate humanity is on the spectrum of aligning with antiChrist, it is to demonise others as there is an agreement with the work of demons and it is human partnership is what empowers the demonic.

Humanity is elevated in creation – so much so that the Psalmist asks ‘what is humanity that you are mindful of them?’ (Ps. 2). Humanity is elevated through God’s identification with us in the Incarnation. He declares that humanity is the body through which God can be revealed. Humanity is elevated in the resurrection as it is not a spiritual declaration that there is life after death, but that a human body is raised from the dead, being declared to be the firstfruit of all creation. The final resurrection will indeed elevate humanity, and before that event the body of Christ (‘those in Christ’) are raised to a new level of sight.

John says in the passage following his comments on the spirit of antiChrist that ‘no one has ever seen God’, but then goes on to say, but ‘if we love one another, God lives among us’. I prefer to translate it as I have done, ‘among us’, rather than in an indivudal sense that he lives ‘in’ us. John uses the same phrase that is used in John 1:14 – he tabernacled ‘among us’ (ἐν ἡμῖν in both texts). God becomes visible among us when we love one another. When we live out what Jesus lived out his glory becomes visible.

Following this John goes on to say that as we love one another his love is perfected. That is the ‘perfect love’ that casts out all fear. It is not through someone’s hands and a prayer so that we are filled with the perfect love of God that casts out fear, but to live a life of love. That life lived out casts out all fear. Hence the fear narrative cannot be listened to by believers. The fear is used to dehumanise / demonise, and as we dehumanise we line up with the work of the demonic and increase their authority to oppress. If the ‘others’ react in a way that justifies our fear we have to ask if we have contributed to their behaviour.

SHARE ON:

Post PermaLink

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!