Explorations in Theology

The series explores a theology that is human friendly! Jesus as the true human shows us who God is, and because of his consideration for us ('who are we, that God should make note of us?') defines who humanity was created to be. The nature of sin is to fall short of the glory of God. The glory of God as revealed in the truly human one - 'we beheld his glory full of grace and truth'. This volume is a foundation for the other volumes. And there are ZOOM groups available...
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2020… what a year

A before and an after

At the start of the year as we gave ourselves to get some idea of shape into it, we realised that we were unable to do so. Sensing strongly that it was a year of disruption… how understated that conviction will prove to be!

It is unlikely we will have many people out to see us this year. Last year we hosted people for around 120 days and nights… this year? And we are not convinced we will be travelling outside either with the various restrictions. This week we had some restrictions lifted. We can now be outside during the day at any hour (previously it was before 10.00am and after 8.00pm). Yesterday no COVID deaths were recorded in Spain so the hard line has produced fruit, but for so many who have no income, or reduced income for weeks / months, so much has changed. There will be a before and an after.

Looking forward, I still maintain that this year will not be as shocking as 2022. There are ripples and major shocks this year, and currently the street voice in the US is being responded to globally (Photo at the top is of Liverpool FC taking a knee while training. Liverpool has a call to be a city of reconciliation… Cities can follow where we go.)

I am deeply grieved by what is exploding in the US. And given that north America is the child of Europe there is no way that we can look and point a finger. What we see is an image of the fruit of the past 500 years of exploitation from Europe. What is for sure is that there are crises that come to all dominating systems, and in spite of not believing in wrath in the sense of ‘personal’ when applied to God the biblical usage of the term might well be applied into this phase of Western history.

The biggest challenge is seeking to understand what it means to be those who see a new ‘creation’. That is the gift of the Spirit (pertinent as we celebrated Pentecost Sunday) and the challenge from the Spirit – what do you see?

Easy to say, not easy to embrace, but we have to look to see what God is making beautiful in this season. I, for long, have considered that we prophesy without having much clue as to what it means. The Bible is full of it, and we should not expect to do much better. I have read some of the words about ‘Passover’ and ‘Pentecost’ for this year. My only comment is that words like that are not given to confirm us to stay on the merry-go-round. I wrote a few days ago about the Exodus from where (Passover) and I believe there is a before and after this Pentecost – but the after is going to be as shocking as the fulfilment of Peter’s prophecy on the day of Pentecost. In my great and awesome writings (as if!!) I wrote that before every shift forward there is a conversion of the church to the world. Such a conversion is preceded by traversing the ground of breaking with the good that has brought us thus far.

I have been ever so tempted to write some of the prophetic statements I have made in the USA since 2001, particularly concerning presidential terms (I spoke of a time-line appointed in 2001 that was tied to the Bush presidency and that a second term would indicate extended time to idea with a root issue; in 2005 I spoke of the outcome in 2008 and 12). I have held back and will continue to do so as the Lord made it clear that we are not ‘responsible’ for that land; there are others who have to take that stand and bring the land through to a different future. Same as we have to do here. Suffice to say through that what is taking place now is a pretty natural follow on from those words.

Finally, not aimed where it might seem to be aimed. When we hold up the cross, or a Bible in certain contexts (Spain and the Valley of the Fallen) we disempower and nullify the very reality that lies behind the symbol. That is deeply worrying. It is the lie of Imperial power – the altar to peace was established on Mars Hill in the days of the New Testament in Rome. Altar to peace established on the mountain of war.

The signs are there for those who wish to look, and this is not about left or right in politics. I still hold out that when we understand the good/bad line does not run between me and you but THROUGH you and me that we can pull something incredible out of this time.

3 thoughts on “2020… what a year

  1. I’m probably being dense, but can you explain what you mean by the altar of peace being established on the mountain of war paragraph? I’m not “getting” where the problem lies. What reality is nullified or disempowered? France being a country that has had a fairly heavy dose of imperialism (the Romans, the ‘Holy Roman Empire’, Napoleon etc…) it feels important that I understand this.

    1. Hi Sheila. A lot of irony in the New Testament. Imperial world of Rome and famous Pax Romana was one path; the other was the peace that Jesus brought through his own blood. How did Rome bring peace? Through war, you comply or we enforce ‘law and order’. They had an altar where sacrifices were made to honour the goddess of peace (eirene), but for those with eyes to see… it was erected on Mars Hill – the hill named after the god of war!

      I have long pondered as to what happens if we take a symbol (cross, Bible) and use it. So I was very provoked that the largest cross of its type in the world was over the tomb of Franco. Did it make a difference to put the cross there and not some other symbol? I consider it does. Symbolism in Scripture is much more than what we think of symbolism. So in part it nullifies the real power of the symbol, we display it in the wrong context, not lining up with it and the result is we throw a covering over it that disempowers it. I have move processing to do but I consider that although it is probably not done deliberately the effect is a nullifying of the real power of the Bible or cross. (As one Catholic priest put it, there are more than one cross and the cross over the Valley of the Fallen is not the cross.)

  2. OK, thank you. I didn’t know about the goddess of peace thing. Much as how my son described “Christian” Rome – empire re-badged. I was also trying to work out how the idea fitted with redemption of places/situations. There is presumably a place for that (will some places have to wait for the New Earth?) but also situations of inappropriate placing of crosses as you describe (or indeed standing in front of churches holding Bibles). For some time I’ve not been quite comfortable with the “claiming ground” idea as was quite popular in some charismatic circles in the 80s & 90s. I don’t think we can claim stuff spiritually in the same way as planting a flag on the moon. If we’re not in line with God’s timing that can be presumptuous and leave us out on a limb somewhere God hasn’t decided to sort out at that particular moment in time. And if there is no desire for change in a situation then plastering a symbol on the top is ineffective. I hadn’t thought of it as disempowering the symbol, but yes, that makes sense.

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