Close up of shepherds in a nativity scene with lambs. Text over the top: Shepherd, leave your watch and field (a poem inspired by Luke 2:8-16) Faith in Grey Places

Luke 2:8–16: Shepherd, leave your flock and fold (a poem)

‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.’  

Micah 5:2 (NIVUK)

Today’s reading is Luke 2:8–16, the story about the shepherds coming to visit Jesus. 

Continue reading Luke 2:8–16: Shepherd, leave your flock and fold (a poem)
House plant near a desk that holds up a white canvas with words from Micah 6:8 on them; the top of the canvas is out of shot but the words "walk humbly" are visible. Text over the top: The truth of worship: a letter to Abraham

The truth of worship: a letter to Abraham

This is part of the series of letters I’m writing to people listed in Hebrews 11 as the “cloud of witnesses” who went before us. Today’s is to Abraham and in particular the part of his story where he very nearly sacrifices Isaac. The story is in Genesis 22, though Genesis 18:1–15 and Genesis 21:1–7 provide context.

Jews refer to the (non-)sacrifice of Isaac as the “Akedah.” Some of what I write in this post draws on a book by scholar Aaron Koller: Unbinding Isaac: The Significance of the Akedah for Modern Jewish Thought (2020: Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press).

Continue reading The truth of worship: a letter to Abraham
"His goings forth (appearances) are from long ago, From ancient days." The Prophet Micah, Micah 2:2

Christmas 2020: Week 2, Day 7: Mystery

I never used to address God as ‘Father’. 

Instead I would just say ‘Lord’ or ‘God.’ It didn’t matter whether I was addressing Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, or… 

OK – Christians have this belief that God exists in three persons. They’re separate, but they’re one. And therefore not separate. It gets confusing very quickly. 

But we believe “the Trinity” is the best way we have of describing a being who is beyond comprehension. 

And it explains things that we see in the Bible. 

For example: Mary was told she would become pregnant with Jesus, who would be called the son of God. When she asked how, she was told the Holy Spirit would come upon her. And the power of the Most High would overshadow her. 

Three persons, one God. 

Continue reading Christmas 2020: Week 2, Day 7: Mystery
"They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks." The Prophet, Micah 4:3

Christmas 2020: Week 1, Day 7: Dreams

“Never surrender dreams.”

J Michael Straczinsky, screenwriter and author.

I once read a fantasy novella called The Emperor’s Soul, by Brandon Sanderson. It was all about a magic of forgery, where you could make alternative identities for people and even objects. But for an alternative identity to stick, it had to be plausible. The more plausible it was, the longer it lasted. (I highly recommend the book.)

I found this a fascinating and creative take for how we bring about change. Change only happens if people can envisage the new way of being; ideas only get traction if they’re seen as achievable. 

Continue reading Christmas 2020: Week 1, Day 7: Dreams