Back to the future

A while back related to Gayle’s work we received a very significant prophetic word that it was a ‘back to the future’ sitatuation… this morning I had an article sent me from a very different perspective entitled back to the future. Marty McFly went from 1985 to 1955 with all that entailed – we all laughed back then when 30 years prior to his time the suggestion that the actor Ronald Reagan would be future president was extremely bizarre. The article looked at 2024 and travelling back 30 years to 1994 and perhaps the suggestion to Doc that Doc that “the casino guy with the gold-plated toilets who left his wife for the Wrestlemania girl” would get elected president would be as bizarre. Those were the humorous part of the article, the rest was much more profound and disturbing. Humour for sure, but..

1994 Nelson Mandela just elected as South Africa’s president; Yasser Arafat returns from Exile and begins the ‘peace process’; Ukraine gives up its Soviet based nuclear weapons with part of the deal between Russia and the West being that the Ukraine will not be invaded by either party… that and many other ironic observations were being made. The aritcle ended very poignantly with

What does 2054 Marty see during his visit to our world? What seeds are we planting, and can we possibly know what harvest they’ll bring?

[For us charismatics we might also add in 1994 and what became known as the ‘Toronto Blessing’… seeds sown then and 30 years later? Now what seeds are being sown for 1954?]

On the global (middle eastern) scene in 2054 we would travel back to 2024 to realise that so much came in 2024 to destabilise… we would read that there was not only conlfict in Gaza, but that was the year that the border to the occupied West Bank was closed shutting out the 150,000 Palestinian workers had been crossing into Israel regularly for jobs in agriculture and construction, causing something around 30% unemployment in the West Bank. Tied to the Middle East 2024 was the year when 15% of all global trade stopped using the Suez Canal thus adding to global costs enormously… who knows whether those events will help someone in 2054 make sense of their world?

Can we affect the future? The future is always rising from the seeds of today.

Disputed islands

What is coming in 2024… well we see in part, and are tainted by our own biases and desires. If we focus on the ‘church’ and cannot see beyond that we might well come up with something along the lines of ‘the year of breakthrough’… I am of course convinced we have to see beyond those four walls, and in my preference for the term ‘body of Christ’ I consider that the wider world is our responsibility – of course I want to avoid over-responsibility and to hold on to an ability to laugh. It is not easy to be truly responsible at a level that is real and can make a wider difference if one loses the ability to laugh.

I made a 15 minute video earlier this month on what I see at the core for 2024:

In it (don’t you love the way that the opening frame makes one look highly intelligent with mouth open!! I know I can change it but I need to be able to laugh, after all I once tried to spell ‘professionalism’ but realised it was a step to far)… anyway in it I say that I see 2024 being a major pivotal year and that at a global level we will either have everything in place by the end of the year as the ‘seeds’ for global war or we can see a shift toward a genuine different kind of future. [Whether one belives the future is fixed or not our prayer has to be ‘on earth as in heaven’ and I think any kind of passivity that comes from ‘it has all been prophesied’ is illegitimate… and the warning to beware of those who say ‘peace, peace’ makes total sense in the Roman first century context of the Pax Romana.]

In the video I say that actual war between China and Taiwan will be held back this year, but that with a focus shifting to the far east there will be actual conflict over ‘disputed islands’. Yesterday I came across this in the BBC website on North Korea and potential ocnflict with South Korea:

This could even be in the form of shelling or attempted occupation of contested islands west of the Korean peninsula (

I don’t quote this to prove I am right – I would rather be wrong and the global scene moves in a positive direction, but quote it as I also suggested that at a personal level ‘disputed islands’ (or as the article calls them ‘contested islands’ will be threatened). This follows a focus in the latter half of last year into the fairly extensive biblical material on boundaries. So leaving the global aside, the personal is important at two levels – important for us and also if we can shift things at a personal level it automatically gives a leverage into the global beyond us.

This post then is simply an encouragement to not stop at ‘silver and gold I do not have’ but to also go on to ‘but what I have / been entrusted with’. Contested! Maybe also some prayer that takes us deeper than simply declaring what is ‘ours’ to prepare me to be able to better steward what is mine within the boundaries that have been set for me.


I mentioned a few nights ago to someone that the demoniac who was delivered (Legion) was found to be

They came to Jesus and saw the man possessed by demons sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion, and they became frightened.

Of course it is a literal statement but I consider that probably behind it is carrying a little more meaning, and that the two phrases ‘clothed’ and ‘in his right mind’ could well be connected. To be in our ‘right mind’ is a process for all of us toward ‘having the mind of Christ’ or at a more human, day to day, level to be thinking straight about ourselves and the world around us. Many years ago I had a woman at the end of a church session ask me to pray for her and her work. I asked her what work she was involved in and she replied that she was a fashion designer. (Of course this SOOOOO connected with me!!??) I replied that this was a wonderful line of work for a believer – OK I will give my reasoning a little later.

I am not convinced that we are to understand the early chapters of Genesis as giving us a literal report on what took place but we do encounter clothing in those chapters. First, of course, there was nothing hidden between them – indicating a radical openness and honesty, but once the abandonment of eating from the ‘tree(s) of life’ came in shame entered and a measure of hiddeness and the couple used something quite inadequate – fig leaves (not recommended!). The first ‘clothing’ was inadequate but indicates a level of personal shame – and I am thinking beyond the shame of the body. God comes and we read,

And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife and clothed them.

God clothed them is an enormous statement. And it does tie with the ‘end’, when Paul looks beyond death to being clothed (resurrection body),

For in this tent we groan, longing to be further clothed with our heavenly dwelling, for surely when we have been clothed in it we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan under our burden because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. The one who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a down payment (2 Cor 5:2-5).

The resurrection body will be that final element on our journey. Never to be found ‘naked’ but totally transformed with no shame, guilt, sadness, tears… and no more death. God will do this.

The Spirit is given to us as a down payment, an ‘arrabon’ (modern Greek: an engagement ring); the Spirit comes to us as a result of the clothing that God gives to us, rather than the hurriedly put together clothing (fig leaves) that we tend to put together.

[And back to my prayer for the woman who was a fashion designer… You have a great job, think of the resurrection, we will be clothed in a way that we will be totally who we are. If you can think of the resurrection and design clothes that will complete people, you will have people wanting to wear your clothes, for they will ‘feel’ clean, whole, they will feel that they are themselves.]

So clothing… Let’s take it symbolically as I am still waiting for my conviction by the fashion police to be rescinded!! Clothing in the context of the Scriptures I am quoting is more than for modesty or protection, they are an outward expression of an inward perception. That is the connection between being in one’s right mind and being clothed. When my outword expression matches my inward perception I am ‘clothed’ at a level of integrity; when my inner percpetion lines up with external truth and my outward expression line up with that I will be ‘clothed and in my right mind’. It begins – assuming we have faith – with God clothing us, the removal of the fig leaves of self-protection, false humility (shame is intrinsically connected here), and goes on to that of self-perception. Perceiving ourselves increasingly through heaven’s eyes of grace… and one day that will be completed.

Perhaps… you will go way beyond me and connect your (literal) physical clothing with your interior self.

At last!!

I have today completed and uploaded the next pdf on Eschatology. It focuses on the ‘second horizon’, the fall and destruction of the city of Jerusalem and Temple in AD70. I do not believe there is any justification in trying to make the words of Jesus in Matt. 24 / Mark 13 / Luke 21 fit in to some future time (as related to us) but that he spoke to the future of the disciples who were hearing his words, and he makes this clear with all the signs he gave would be fulfilled in the generation alive at the time. I end with Paul’s words in 2 Thessalonians on ‘the man of lawlessness’ with the suggestion that the time frame he is looking to is the same one that Jesus gave. The first horizon was deeply unexpected as it was initiated by the death of Messiah. They could not imagine that could take place; the second horizon was to occur over the 40 years following.

Click to download / read (pdf format).

Eschatology: The Second Horizon.

I plan next week to record a YouTube video to accompany the pdf. The video will be simpler with a more of an overview, the pdf digs deeper.

If you wish to find other pdf’s and the one that precedes this volume go to:

Extended Articles

Where to from here?

That title could mean almost anything, so let’s make it mean something – where to: the kingdom coming in fullness or at least to some level that could be considered tangible; from here: where we are now!!! Why not? I am currently working on ‘eschatology’ with my current focus on the ‘wars and rumours of wars’ passage (Matt. 24 and parallels) with a video recording imminent and some notes, all suggesting we should NOT look for a fulfilment beyond the generation alive at the time Jesus spoke those words (culminating in the Jewish War of 66-70AD). (Same perspective on the man of lawlessness that Paul spoke of.) So no signs given to us to enable us to form a ‘prophetic time-line’ there. And then add my leaning toward the future is open, and stepping back from my eschatology series we really have a wide open space to explore… and (critically for me) no time for panic, anxiety, submision to the inevitable as we focus on ‘let your kingdom come’ where to from here? We might speculate a lot about the future, but the ‘disciples prayer’ remains a sure and certain guide to us.

I consider that we have a critical window of time, another 15 – 17 years to adapt to the changing world, to reverse what can be reversed, to learn to live in a planet different to the one that people of my era entered, and to set some healthy paths beyond that. Of course there could well be a parousia before that but rather than be passive I think we should engage with what is here and leave any timing to the Lord.

A big question is of course the unity of the body of Christ, and I appreciate those whose passion is for ecumenism and the visible unity (unifaction of the church?), I am simply of the persuasion that the organic unity of heart, of pulling together (a movement with great diversity but pulling for our world’s future) is where we start and then let’s see where that might lead.

I am asking – though no business of mine – for another 300, 400, or 500 years – not for me personally(!!) but for the existence of our planet. I am asking for that so that we (by we I mean those that follow in our faith footsteps) might have some opportunity to shape the future and to significantly contribute to the age to come. If we have that kind of time-frame we can optimistically sow in our day for tomorrow. As an author of a book (originally) entitled ‘Sowing seeds for revival’ I have to confess that when written -25 years ago my vision was of somethng coming to the Western world that would look essentially like what was seen in Wales in 1904, or in more recent days in nations such as Argentina. I also meant ‘revival’ in the sense of the body of Christ being revived so that ‘what Jesus began to do and to teach’ would manifest again… I now would view things either differently or in a more developed way. Revival in the Wales / Argentina sense I would more see as placing the church on a life-support machine but not as restoring us to a full lease of life. Life but not leading to full recuperation to enter the world around us, to be the ‘soul’ of the world or the ‘salt of the earth’ (to quote Diognetus and Jesus).

If we think beyond ‘deconstruction’ as being how things are structured falling apart but press it more into the deconstructing of how we think I consider that there is a healthy deconstruction taking place. It can be disconcerting. For example I do not see ‘salvation’ in the classic evangelical sense being the centre of Paul’s gospel, though ‘salvation’ in that classic sense nuanced in understanding remains within Paul’s gospel. It seems the challenge is how do we move without simply throwing out all previous understanding. Holding tensions, living with unasnswered questions will remain.

Simplicity of faith in Jesus, innocence even… ‘a sincere and pure devotion to Christ’ (2 Cor. 11:3) with less knowledge, but greater centring on Jesus is part of our journey. Jesus can undo us and can lead us on a venture.

Paul’s gospel was essentially a proclamation with incredible implications. That proclamation was that Jesus was raised from the dead and was declared as ‘Lord of all’. The implication was that ‘new creation’ was now present. Let the struggle begin! Old creation with its default to fallenness or new creation with a direction of ‘no more tears’. Which way will it go?

I think Paul was so impacted by Jesus, from Damascus onwards, that he seemed to think this world could be transformed. Maybe he had a time expectation attached to his hope, perhaps not. Whatever his expectation was he carried sufficient hope that he – amidst opposition – proclaimed a future within the context of a well-ordered world that was at that time shaping the future.

If the body of Christ (I avoid the use of the term ‘church’ so that we do not think immediately into the centre expressed in a building and on a certain day) was anointed as the open door between heaven and earth we should not be surprised that there is a lot of activity and change taking place at the level of that body. If we are to see a shift in our world, hierarchy, patriarchy, competition, seeking titles will have to be dealt with there. (Not to mention wrong sexual activity, or the adjustment for those that can offer others a help toward ‘fame and fortune’ within the church context! Yes, I have come across exactly that.)

I am not without hope, rather I am full of hope, and of course I have to seek to understand the world around and what I perceive God is doing. I might be wrong in my perceptions but I have to live by my convictions. The loss of certain things, essentially because of the unseating of christendom can be mourned over or we can press through that. I understand the sadness with the demise of so-called Judeo-Christian values but I consider that the NT pushes us beyond those so that we are not shaped primarily from the past but from the future – perhaps what we might term eschatlogical values. I suspect that we have more demise to come so that our dependence is on heaven not on our own past achievements.

We are entering critical times; since putting out my video on 2024 where I suggest that by the end of 24 we will either have the pieces in place for global conflict or we will have pivoted the other side to laying ground for genuine peace I have observed President Xi’s (China) new years speech and then the subsequent election of the new president for Taiwan… all the signs are of the tension and very real threat of war between China and Taiwan coming into view. In that video I said ‘no war between China and Taiwan’; the provocation is can we hold that back – and by ‘we’ I mean those who have some level of burden about this. I believe we can hold that back, and in reality I believe we must in this pivotal year. What a year lies ahead.

I am deeply impressed by the shift for so many people where they are finding a home in a specific expression of the Christian faith – one day when I mature I will be able to be less preoccupied with everything going on in my head and be able to rest and genuinely meditate… until then!! However, I still have at my core the transformation of this world. I have visited in the past months places where I began 25 years ago on ‘sowing seeds for revival’. That has been so healthy for me, not to celebrate a past but to be strengthened for the next 500 years.

Into this a new prophetic movement that goes beyond ‘Christians will be blessed with a new open heaven, do not fear the traumas in the world, Jesus is coming’ to ‘there is an open heaven since the cross, you stand between heaven and earth, go plant the apple tree for Jesus is coming whether today or tomorrow, so proclaim to one and all the hope that is within you’. Now that prophetic movement will be so diverse; the prophethood of all believers. ‘The Spirit will be poured out… and they shall prophesy.’

Corporate exorcism

Language – corporate exorcism… dealing with a corporate spirit… cleansing a house. I am not sure what the best language is for what I am about to describe, and there might well be different (and also effective) approaches to the situation. In summary I hold that there is a corporate ‘spirit’ that comes into being as any organisation (even those that begin organically) develops. That corporate spirit might be a spiritual entity (as in ‘being’) though I probably side toward understanding it to be some of sort of reality, of manifesting all the elements of personality but falling short of being an independent ‘being’.

[I probably have not fully grasped the writings of Walter Wink on this but I consider what he has written is some of the best on this – he does not believe in what we would term a ‘personal devil’ but is very happy to use the language of ‘demon / spirit / devil. I have certainly used his understanding in my own writings when seeking to understand how a city develops.]

So painting a progression. Here comes a handful of people who come up with a brilliant idea and they collaborate together to move it forward. This is driven by the energy and vision of those people and so in the early stages everything is very malleable and open to adjustment. Probably the organisation (and by that I am not suggesting it is all tied down, but am using the term as a catch-me-all term for the spectrum of corporeality from loose to structured) then receives a name. [In Scripture the term ‘city’ is pretty much the term that would be ascribed to what I am terming an organisation.]

At this early stage the organisation is there to serve the vision. All seems in harmony. The naming is an important element (here I think we can draw on the naming of the animals in the creation story) for the name gives it an identity. A great challenge later will be if the name is appropriate and if so can the organisation continue to live up to what the name should entail.

As the development continues the organisation will move through from interdependence between the organisation and the ‘founders’ to then the beginning of the organisation gaining a measure of independence. If this independence continues there will be a greater measure to which ‘Babylon’ will manifest, with its claim that:

I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow
or know the loss of children (Is. 47:8).

The claim then is of continual existence through the generations,

The Hebrew for Babel and Babylon are the same and in Babel we see the vision ‘make a name for ourselves… raise a tower to heaven’, all fuelled by what can be imagined. Within all organisations (business, schools, systems, churches, clubs) are the ‘babylonic’ and (possibly) the ‘new Jerusalem’ attributes. So as the development takes place there will be a tendency for more of the babylonic to manifest – it is the default direction, it will simply happen if left unaddressed. And certainly the further it moves to the babylonic expression the more likely a (assuming they exist) demonic entity will be attracted.

[The make a name is not that of I will make a name for myself, but I will be part of something that has a name and reputation… it will live to perpetuate its own existence, and likewise I will be present to give my energies for its continues existence.]

Because this is a default direction it is very dangerous to leave this all unattended. An ‘exorcism’ or at least a re-alignment will need to be carried out on a regular basis.

Scripture uses the term ‘beasts’ to describe that which rises up with an imperial presence. An imperial spirit is simply that which empowers a few at the top of the pyramid who in turn offer success to all who comply but the benefits simply flow to those at the top… and if such a system claims also the endorsement of ‘heaven’ we have a right old mess on our hands! The use of the ‘beast’ metaphor is from creation, where there are domestic and wild animals (Jesus in the wilderness – yes in the wilderness – lived eschatologically and ‘the wild beasts were with him!); the wild beasts, those that cannot be domesticated by humanity are then the appropriate metaphor for ‘babylonic’ systems.

In Revelation 13:5 we read that ‘The beast was given a mouth’. That is always an important stage for it initiates the 42 month period (that is what is known as a ‘rectangular’ number and signifies the time and place of conflict). The ‘mouth’ manifestation is a major sign that we have gone past the time when an exorcism / re-alignment should have taken place – this being when there are those who verbally are contending for the success of the organisation… success at all costs. They think they will benefit personally but in reality they too will be sacrificed once they have no value to the future success.

In simple terms all organisations are looking for those whose faces fit; who will be loyal. This can work for some, but it is always open to dehumanisation, for no organisation, nor leader(s) can say ‘my people, my money/ resources’.

In summary then as the organisation develops and if it is left unchecked an independent life will develop (a corporate life that transcends the sum total of the individuals) it will increasingly devour people and reward those who align with its babylonish intent.

So what do we do?

Those within need on a regular basis – and surely something annual would be helpful and probably enough if done with conviction – to address the corporate reality. As with all demonic expulsions, muzzle the voice (and here practically any advertising, self-promotion needs to be looked at) – the voice is so important. Then to exorcise or to re-align I consider that the corporate spirit needs to be addressed with a firmness of conviction, and addressed till there is a submission… something along the lines of ‘we are not here to serve you and see you succeed (and if ‘Christian’) we command and align you to the advance of the kingdom, not to our idea of what that means but to be coformed to the pattern of the Son of God’. It is amazingly how challenging those words are to us – we are not seeking your success. If we cannot say that we might need some deliverance first! If the body of people addressing the organisation are not ‘Christian’ then maybe something along the lines of ‘we command and align you to serve humanity and with a particualr bias to the marginalised’.

Now just for a moment think of a before and an after. Before: the world as we have it. After: when all governments, cities, businesses, organisations, churches etc. all together make those declarations.

Maybe we might get something different:

All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.

The wolf shall live with the lamb;
the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the lion will feed[b] together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

Just imagine… imagination was not cursed in Babel, just how it was being used.

A little Scripture helps the ‘medicine’ go down

I have been provoked by the quoting of Scripture in the mouth of ‘the adversary’ when confronting Jesus in the temptations. Three intertwined temptations related to mammon, religion and power. Interrelated because they impinge on one another, and are seldom ever totally separate. The Scriptures are a dangerous set of writings as can seemingly bend them for my own purposes. The three take place in three separate locations: the wilderness (the journey through with enough but not an over-abundance) hence a good place to throw the temptation of abundant provision; the high mountain to see whatever oikoumene (imperial domain) might be appealing to us to be the king of the castle over; and then the Temple (religious context) – the context in which the Scripture was quoted by the adversary.

In Revelation (the book that corrects our sight) the wilderness was the place where Babylon was manifest (Rev. 17:3) to John; unless we learn how to navigate the wilderness it is unlikely we will see Babylon manifest. Likewise it was at the top of the mountain that John saw the New Jerusalem come down (21:10) and we are going to be tormented by the seemingly eternal existence of Babylon unless we can refuse status, domination and hierarchy.

So to the temptation where Scripture is quoted:

Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
    and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

This is the temptation in the temple. God is with you in a unique way. Always this is what seems to be the signs that surround those who can tell us the way to go. God is with them, thus proving they are beyond me. Or… God anoints the person who is embodying the great rejection of heaven (the king); the disciples (not the 11 but the 12) come back with ‘even the demons are subject in your name’. Says a lot about God; does not speak about the approval of deviant behaviour or position.

There are those who carry the presence of the Lord in unique ways – that is the nature of the anointing… but super-stardom is not the way of the kingdom.

One of the big concerns I have is when the three temptations come together in a way that ‘a three-fold cord is hard to break’… Economic promise, political power and religious uniqueness, then add to that the quoting of Scripture. Warning bells sound!

2024: a couple of perspectives

So much can be said about every year… this one I see as a major pivotal year. Naturally, with a huge percentage of the population being located in countries that are ‘democratically’ electing a government sets the scene for a ‘before’ and ‘after’ possibility. I focus on two areas: the global conflicts that will come in the far east over islands, mirroring the contention over our personal disputed areas; and on a people movement – not from ‘there’ to us but a major level of we have to travel. The results will not be nice and tidy. I posted on the nature of Joppa, Simon and the tanner – a paradigm for us.

A year also for toxicity to be emitted, the worst form of toxicity being religion, and when such elements as the cross and Scritpure are colonised to serve religion we have something very toxic in the making.

I am optimistic – still pressing in to hold back nuclear and chemical weaponry in the Ukraine setting… hopeful that surely we can see the Israel / Gaza conflict restricted, and with a focus on the far east to see the threat of China invading Taiwan fall to the ground. If pivotal we will see by the end of the year the elements in place for war on a global scale or we push through to dialogue, peace that is not surface but very deep. I want to see the latter of course.

The people movement is challenging. The next move of God… God is looking for the next move of people and for those of us who carry the name of Jesus to connect with it.

An interesting place – but why?

An amazing miracle in Joppa with Dorcas raised from the dead and ‘This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord’ (Acts 9:42).

Peter stays on in Joppa (modern day Tel Aviv) and Luke repeatedly tells us it is with ‘a certain Simon, a tanner’. It is here he has his vision of the sheet full of unclean animals coming down which eventually propels him (semi-reluctantly?) to make his journey to Cornelius’ house, where he makes his introduction with:

You yourselves know that it is improper for a Jew to associate with or to visit an outsider, but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.

A radical conversion for sure… but a) he has been in Joppa, the very place that Jonah left from so that he might not go to the ‘other’, the Ninevites, so Peter would have that narrative in mind, Joppa the place where in obedience to God we go to those we once thought were unclean; b) he is staying with Simon a Gentile (possibly a Jew, but handling dead animal carcases?), so is already visiting ‘associating and visiting an outsider’; c) as a tanner Simon is working with dead animals so Peter is staying with someone ‘profane and unclean’.

The vision comes and Peter interprets it as a test and holds firm to his tradition / convictions, with a strong ‘never have I…’

All seems strange to me, but illustrates that we are out of the box in Joppa, staying with an unclean Gentile, thinking we are doing so well, but there is further to go… Three people knocking on the door for us to respond to, waiting for us to come down from our place of revelation to connect.

Scripture is full of annoying narratives that don’t help us work out how we are to respond.

Power or… weakness

Simon Swift wrote me a few days ago with what follows that I have published as a post with his permission. We might react when we read ‘the weakness of God’, but we struggle (or should) when we read about ‘the power / all-powerfulness of God’. Simon wrote:

Over the last few weeks I have been drawn to the idea of the weakness of God as an alternative to the power of God. This is the idea that Jesus went to the cross in powerlessness.

In church we often sing of the power of God and there are lots of images of a small child with a large lion behind them in a kind of, ‘My Dad is bigger than yours’, way. I wonder if we miss something important when we fall into this type of thinking.

Recently I watched a news article in which a middle aged Palestinian woman on the west bank while attending a protest march was asked if they should continue an armed struggle. In her answer she stated that, ‘The rest of the world only knows power.’ This is the power of empire is about domination and control with the ultimate sanction of death for those that oppose it.

The best definition of love I have ever heard is: Making room in your own life for someone else to be themselves. This does carry a risk and makes you vulnerable; a weakness that can be exploited for sure but it is also the way of freedom, creativity and growth without the control that power tries to exert. It is I believe what Jesus practised. A good example is the woman who anointed his feet at the dinner party; talk about an awkward moment but Jesus loved her enough to let her do it and even defended her.

Jesus seems to have refused to side with power. At the forty day fasting he refused it; When arrested he refused to use the power he had (legion of angels); His sermon on the mount included teachings on what to do when someone had power over you (turn the other cheek etc.) All seems to show he chose, and invites us, to walk the narrow path of weakness. Ultimately the cross is the best expression of this; allowing death to take him but not hold him. Not so much he defeated death but went through death and came out the other side; now death cannot touch him.

I feel that we should not confuse power and weakness. In a lot of action films there is a cliche where the hero is fighting the bad guy. At some point the hero seems to be losing and the evil dude stops to monologue on how weak the hero is, usually because he has loved ones or friends he cares about and in his attempt to defend them he has made himself vulnerable. Of course as usual in Hollywood, the hero then finds some extra strength and goes on to defeat the bad guy so we can have a happy ending to the film. This seems to nicely show what weakness is about: love and caring for others.

The Church unfortunately has often opted for the easy option of power and has been corrupted by it. When it has done so it has joined in with empire, tragically losing its way off the narrow path. No wonder there has been so many reformation and revivals! As Christians is power all we know? Perhaps in these troubled times where we see power being used in devastating ways, we should stop calling ourselves Christians and instead become the People of Easter choosing not sides but becoming instruments of reconciliation. That though invites misunderstanding and persecution and we will have to decide if we are ready for that.

A Reflection That Asks a Question

An image so clean, so pure, we sing
Dressing him in clothes of white and gold
With strength to wield a sword
It hides the wounds we give him

Do you dream of being a courtier
To a king sat in grandeur
With jewelled crown and silver sceptre
An aura of majestic power

Look in the mirror, ask your reflection
Are you a thief who would be courtier
To a king lifted up naked and bruised
Who’s crown draws blood for you to drink from

Would you hear his invitation
To share in his glorious pose
Or mock in indignation at his critique
Of power and its grotesque exhibition