Preached for the first time in a few years at Childs Hill Baptist Church, the eglwys I grew up in. I’m trying to get as much experience as I can in preparing series and preaching systematically through books of the Bible. So in the morning it was Jonah 3 and in the evening it was Mark 3 & 4, having been doing the Mark stuff at our Youth Clubs in Aber & Jonah twice at midweek meetings and once on a Sunday in A.P..
The Jonah one was a standard call and response; urge for repentance sermon. The evening was a bit more unusual, I wanted us to look at the parable of the sower, but we looked at it in the context of the previous chapter’s events. It’s here in chapter 3 that we meet four types of people — disciples; Pharisees; great crowd; Judas — who all have different responses to Jesus, the latter three having a negative response. We compared those four groups to the four types of ground in the parable of the sower.
Our crocheting friend who made us tea at our house (very kind friend) offered me the choice of a Beatles mug or a Toy Story mug, she did this by simply saying “Beatles or Toy Story?”, that’s just like saying “Daddy or chips?”! I found myself truly considering which I would choose to save and which I would choose to destroy, the music or the magic? I knew what was happening here, I was being forced to eradicate one from history. I hesitated. It was so hard! But I did end up doing what we would all do — with some regret — choosing The Beatles. No contest.
The Prodigy are the culprits once again, with their track which Sam introduced me to through a mix CD he gave me sometime between 2003/4. Voodoo People. Has the perfect rhythm for my pace and enough vitality to the melody and beat to keep me going. Is it Jungle?
A man has successfully managed to stop Google from holding information about his past.
Articles have highlighted the fact that we live in an age where our misdeeds are remembered more permanently and more visibly than ever before.
As one man points out in a Guardian article, ‘forgetting is intimately connected with forgiving’. So we come to theology…
God is the being with the greatest memory in the universe! This Google case reminds us of the vulnerability we suddenly experience when a shameful event from the past becomes publicly accessible. If knowledge is power, then God is truly omnipotent (due to his omniscience). God intimately knows your thoughts, in fact, everything you’ve ever done to everyone ever is known by him. Feel vulnerable now?
But the beauty of God and his grace is that there is protection against this disastrous situation we find ourselves in, and it’s not a measly court injunction.
It is possible to experience a divine pronouncement of unbreakable forgetfulness, how? Through Jesus.
If Jesus becomes the one on whom the responsibility for all those shameful acts we have committed in our past is laid, then forgiveness is possible. And our sins will not only be forgiven by God, but forgotten by him.
Arcade Fire have an interesting prayer in their song:
Down on your knees
Begging us please
Praying that we don’t exist
This is a classick example of an unbelieving 21st century philosopher’s prayer, he goes beyond hoping that God does not exist, his ultimate hope is that he doesn’t exist. If we don’t exist then we can do what we want and live at the centre of our own self-made lucid-dream (or nightmare). Lennon said it first, ‘Living is easy with eyes closed’. Win Butler’s character’s equivalent is to close his ears not his eyes: ‘Walking around head full of sound’.
But what I like is that We Exist rejects this possibility. Despite the fact that this unbeliever is desperate to conclude that nothing is real, the song’s refrain relentlessly reminds him (and us) of the truth…