ONE HUNDRED – LEST WE SHOULD FORGET

100 is a number with powerful effect upon the imagination. It is the first occasion in ascending order where three numerical digits make sense. From Roman times the century as a description for this number has been applied conceptually in several areas of life. The name belonged to the military realm denoting the number of soldiers under a command, but it has become variously a standard measure of time, a sporting record, and a standard for naming, notably such things as the century egg, a cricketing score century, the Buick Century automobile, and Century City.

Numerically the origin of its significance lies with the decimal numbering system which over time has become the dominant counting system. Probably originating with the numeration of the ten digits shared between a pair of normal human hands, most of the world today counts in groups of ten.

One hundred years ago today Allied forces in Europe signed an armistice with representatives of the German government to end the Great War which became knows as World War I. The commemoration of the signing of the armistice has taken place every year since at the time when it took effect, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. It is remembered as Armistice Day, commemorated in the United States as Veterans Day, and throughout the British Commonwealth as Remembrance Day. As a boy I well remember the two minutes of silence observed at 11am, fifteen minutes after our worship service had begun on the Sunday closest to the 11th November. My mother could remember when road traffic halted for two minutes at that moment of commemoration.

The Great War was first remembered as the War to End all Wars, such were the horrors in collective memory. Its origins lay in residual animosity between France and Germany issuing from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, and the ensuing emergence of the German State, mingled with statecraft since the 1880s between European powers competing for spheres of influence in Africa and elsewhere. It can also be viewed as a royal family feud, as heads of state, many descended from Britain’s Queen Victoria, allowed their petty differences to overflow in armed conflict.

Along with World War II, memories of wartime suffering were part of the collective memory of my family as I was growing up. So many relatives and neighbors had fought or lost loved ones to the fighting. My father, in his fifties when I was born, had grown up in London. He remembered hearing the massive explosion in 1917 when 50 tons of TNT exploded to destroy the Silvertown munitions factory at the cost of 73 lives. He also recalled being taken to visit his half-brother, twenty-five years his senior, during a hospital stay subsequent to being invalided out of the Western Front.

In the early 1990s I visited the Canadian War Memorial at Vimy in France. This massive twin obelisk limestone monument stands on Vimy Ridge dominating the landscape and records the names of more than 11,000 members of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces who died during the war. As I ran my hand along the wall of inscribed names, much as others do with the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC, I paused. Without realizing where I had stopped I looked at the name under my hand. Walter John Heyburn was the name of my Uncle Jack’s father. Leaving his pregnant wife in England to follow him, he had emigrated to Canada in the Summer of 1914. With the war breaking out in August he had told his wife to stay put and joined the Expeditionary Forces to come back to Europe. He was killed long before the 1917 assault on Vimy Ridge by the Canadian Forces which dislodged the Germans from a rare piece of high ground in Northern France, but that location records his name for posterity.

The Great War took the lives of millions, armed and civilian. It had massive impact on the geopolitical map of Europe indirectly shaping the lives of future generations. It brought down Russian imperialism opening the way to another form of autocratic rule, that of the rise of communism and the suffering of millions of its subjects. The uneasy peace established at Versailles was a significant factor in the rise of Nazi Germany, the Second War and consequent holocaust.

All its surviving combatants are gone now. The last veteran died in 2011 aged 110. But there are still veterans of the Second War among us.

I’ve known Kal Skeirik for over twenty years. He’s a member of a men’s group at a local church where I have been a regular speaker since the 1990s. Six years ago I sat with him over supper before I spoke as he shared with me one of his memories. As he talked of the early morning sunrise over the river Meuse as he assisted the army chaplain with the baptism of several of his fellow soldiers I realized he was a lot older than I had thought. He was already eighty when I met him.

A few days ago, I was again speaking at this men’s fellowship. I sat with Kal and he told me more of his life story. With great humility and warmth, he spoke of his years working in Washington for the Small Business Administration, of his move to Richmond to be near a daughter and of his last fifteen years in a retirement community. Recently his wife of 68 years celebrated her 99th birthday and together they never imagined they would last a decade and a half in the retirement home. Committed to physical fitness he works out three times a week with a routine of walking, jogging, cycling and boxing for two to three hours. He’s published his war time memoir and is writing a memoir of his years in government service. At the age of 101 he is about to feature in a promotional video for his retirement community as the star of the gym.

Looking at him across the supper table it was hard to appreciate that I was looking at a man already alive when the armistice signatures were signed in a railway carriage in the Compiegne Forest of Eastern France. But he reminds me of the many who never came home from the fronts of both World Wars and subsequent conflicts, who laid down lives for the defense of societies that make us who we are today.

One hundred years on, the names, the images, the stories, serve as reminders that so many live on in our collective memory.

 

Advertisements
Posted in Culture and Politics, Nations, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

KOPI LEWAK AND THE ENTICING AROMA OF FRANKINCENSE

[In 2007 I wrote this article. A colleague recently sent me a National Geographic Article about Islam in Mexico. It prompted me to return to these words and update them to publish here]

“Come, all you who are thirsty … and your soul will delight in the richest of fare”. Isaiah 55:1&2
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”. Matthew 5:6

There’s a restaurant in Australia’s New South Wales where you can drink coffee for $65 a cup. The world’s most expensive coffee, and possibly most expensive beverage, is named Kopi Lewak. Connoisseurs travel for miles to try a sample. London’s luxury department store, Harrods, sells it online for $340 for a quarter pound.

Over the last two decades Starbucks have done an incredible job of turning a common drink into an experience, and now, just as the London coffee houses first popularized the drink in eighteenth century Britain, today’s coffee houses are exploiting a worldwide addiction. Many, in search of their next caffeine fix are chasing after the new and trendy flavors on offer, getting their fill of fantasies before the next headache of withdrawal arrives.

But Kopi Lewak is not what one would otherwise choose to drink. In Indonesia and the Philippines coffee beans fall from the bushes and are feasted on by the civet, a small rodent. Unfortunately, the civet cannot consume them entirely and the half-digested beans, having been harvested from faeces, are ground up to make this most expensive of coffees[i]. Literally, something that should not pass examination by Health and Safety Inspectors, becomes, when passed by rats, acceptable!

There is a subtle spiritual agenda at work in the western world today. Secular communicators who make their living by sharing new ideas with a tired world are naively presenting Islam as the religious experience of the future. Whether writing about the order and discipline brought to troubled lives by the daily practice of the din (Ceremonial Duties) or communicating how Muslim refugees are making new lives for themselves in the West despite the suspicions surrounding them, they are presenting the face of Islam as acceptable. Describing the faith as the third of the great Abrahamic faiths, casually offers it as the latter and therefore, by inference, more complete form of monotheism.

It is this acceptable face of Islam that prompted the Muslim community in Swansea, South Wales to carefully communicate their plans to convert St. Andrew’s United Reform Church into a mosque during the first decade of the Millennium. In 2007 their web-page declared: Learn about the renovation of this 150-year-old landmark building, the protection of Swansea’s heritage, and how with your donations and prayers it can once again be utilized for the worship of God[ii].

Today, that same web-page has no reference to the past role of the building as a church and is filled with references to Islam that are unintelligible to the average reader.

The acceptable face of Islam was also presented in a 2013 episode of the CBS TV drama, NCIS Los Angeles. The agents of the Office of Special Projects team confront Islamic militants. An Afghan kills his own nephew to stop him from harming someone else. Sam Hanna, the character played by actor LL Cool J, who is portrayed as a practicing Muslim, is shown in the closing scene talking to the Afghan, whom he has known for several years. The Afghan says: The taking of one innocent life is like the taking of the life of all mankind. I made the decisions I believed to be right in my heart – Allah will forgive me![iii]

A colleague recently drew my attention to a November 2017 National Geographic article about Islam in Mexico where the Muslim population has grown over the last couple of decades (5,270 – up 40% since 2010[iv]). It stated: Converts are fueling the growth in Mexico City, while high birthrates and large families spur it on in rural regions. This is not new revelation; it is the experience of many communities, whether Islam is the majority or the minority.

The narrative follows an Italian photographer who lived with the Muslim community in Mexico City for a year and then visited a village of 400 in Chiapas State that has blended indigenous religious practices into their practice of Islam. What is pleasing about Islam is that it brings practical actions in daily life: You have to pray five times each day. You can’t eat pork and you can’t drink alcohol, stated the photographer, in a comment that would not be new information to educated readers.

The article represents another example of a media endeavor to present Islam as a benign religious presence. While relevant to any ethnographic study of the world, a community of 5,000 Muslims in a nation of 124,000,000 is barely worthy of comment. I felt disappointed that a magazine of the quality of National Geographic would invest space in such an article, so I did a few searches of their website. Entering the term Growing Muslim Community produced the Mexico article and another about Muslim minority communities thriving in the USA at the top of the search list. However, entering the term: Christian Minority Communities, revealed a 2013 article about the Boston Marathon bombings[v] while entering the term: Growth of Christianity, produced a list headed by an article entitled: How Early Islamic Science Advanced Medicine.[vi]

Regrettably, despite the acceptable face of Islam, and the peace-loving life-styles of the great majority of Muslims, there is a darker side to Islam that needs to be revealed. Christians are called to love their neighbors and their enemies. We love Muslims because we are commanded to do so, because they are our brothers and sisters and because we long for them to know the life in Christ that we experience. We want them to know true eternal life.

Graciousness and tolerance in the Western world are principles drawn from a strong Christian heritage. Our graciousness and tolerance should however never serve to obscure the truth. In 2013 I attended a conference at Georgetown University in Washington on the theme of Religious Pluralism & Freedom. Speaking to the issue of religious freedom in the majority Muslim world, Farid Esack, Head of the Dept of Religion at Johannesburg University and Professor of Islam, gave a rambling presentation. Regarding freedom of religious practice, he said: In the parts of the Muslim world which I am most familiar with, … We don’t affirm the value and centrality of religious freedom. …Notions of freedom do not come automatically to our religious language. And so, at the end of the day, … for the vast majority of people in the Muslim world, and Muslim authority figures, whether they are government or scholarly figures who interact with the non-Muslim world. … it is still very much the age-old principle that Islam is meant to dominate and Islam is not to be dominated.[vii]

It is the intolerant aspect of Islam that I find unacceptable. Unfortunately, it has become politically incorrect to present it. Our own western lens of tolerance seems not to allow us to accept that those of another religious or cultural heritage would not be equally tolerant in our increasingly globalized world. It is this intolerance that causes a nation like Turkey to so equate national identity with religious identity that the idea of a Turkish Christian becomes anathema. It is this intolerance that must factor into Arab views of Israel with an attitude among some that cannot accept the idea of land once Muslim being dominated by peoples of another religion[viii]. One scholar has described Muslim reaction to the loss of territory in Spain and the Balkans as Islamic lands, wrongfully taken from Islam and destined ultimately to be restored.[ix] In the words of Nobel Prize winner V.S.Naipaul: Islamic Fundamentalism has the basic cruelty of allowing only one people The Arabs, the original people of the Prophet, a past, and sacred places, pilgrimages and earth reverence[x].

A 2007 episode of PBS’ Globetrekker[xi] traveled to three states in the Arabian peninsular; Kuwait, UAE and Oman. In the latter, the viewer was taken to the Boswellia trees at a desert oasis in the Nejd. It is the slowly dripping gum-resin of these trees that produces Frankincense. The aroma produced by this resin permeates life in Oman. Government buildings are censed daily with it. Omani hospitality is delivered daily in an atmosphere perfumed by Frankincense. For millennia, this incomparable odor has carried the fame of Arabia around the world.

Drawing the program to a conclusion, Megan McCormick, the presenting journalist summed up her observations of the three nations. Though describing their differences, she ended with the words: Whatever the differences, these nations are held together by the common presence and practice of the Muslim religion. One cannot but be impressed by the beauty and power of Islam! Just as this mysterious fragrance has enticed and attracted millions down the ages, so Islam is being presented as a worthy attraction. Saddest perhaps of all is that the very scent that became synonymous with the gift of a wise man to the Christ child has subsequently become associated with a religious spirit of Anti-Christ!

The prophet Isaiah issues the invitation to: “Come, all you who are thirsty!” while Jesus tells us that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are blessed and shall be filled. In a world where Western Christendom is in severe decline, the call to the church is to not only proclaim again the great truths of the Good News, but to live them to the fullest. In Christ is the only answer for the nations; in Christ is the only answer for the Muslim world.

In his letter, the apostle James tells us: “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”. (Jas 1:16-17) The coffee known as Kopi Lewak is from the ground, in more ways than one. The faith of Islam is from the dusts of the desert. The truth of God our heavenly father and his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, is from above and the invitation to “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8) extends to all.

[i] Kopi luwak or civet coffee, is the world’s most expensive and low-production variety of coffee. It is made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and other related civets, then passed through its digestive tract. A civet eats the berries for their fleshy pulp. In the digestive tract, the civets’ proteolytic enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids. Passing through a civet’s intestines the beans are then defecated, keeping their shape. After gathering, thorough washing, sun drying, light roasting and brewing, these beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness. https://www.coffeebeanshop.co.uk/kopi-luwak-p-481.html (Accessed May 29, 2018)
[ii] www.swanseamosque.org (Accessed February 14, 2007)
[iii] NCIS Los Angeles Season 4 Episode 16 – Columbia Broadcasting System, Studio City, Los Angeles
[iv] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2017/10/muslims-mexico-indigenous-religion-islam/  & http://www3.inegi.org.mx/sistemas/TabuladosBasicos/Default.aspx?c=27302&s=est (Accessed May 29, 2018)
[v] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/search/?q=christian+minority+communities (Accessed May 29, 2018)
[vi] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/search/?q=growth+of+christianity (Accessed May 29, 2018)
[vii] The Boundaries of Religious Pluralism & Freedom: The Devil is in the Detail – Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University – April 13, 2013 –  video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHSZ7PbLO1o – accessed June 6th, 2018
[viii] See for example the Hamas Covenant 1988 Preamble: Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it has eliminated its predecessors. Hamas Covenant 1988 Article 11: The land of Palestine is an Islamic Holy Possession
consecrated for future Moslim generations until Judgment Day. No one can renounce it or any part, or  abandon  it  or  any  part  of  it. Hamas New Covenant 2017 Article 3: Palestine is an Arab and Islamic land, it is holy and blessed and it has a special place in the heart of all Arabs and Muslims
[ix] The Muslim Discovery of Europe – Bernard Lewis – New York: W. W. Norton, 1982 – p. 182
[x] Beyond Belief- Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples – V.S.Naipaul – Vintage 1999 – p.64
[xi] GlobeTrekker Season 9 Episode 1 – Pilot Film & TV Productions Ltd. London and Los Angeles
Posted in Culture and Politics, Islam | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

OF NATIONS

“Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven”. Acts 2:5

I’ve been reading in the book of Acts recently. This book tells of the establishment of the church as believers in Jerusalem begin to form a community of followers of Christ, and then move outward to surrounding regions. Often the teaching focus of the chapter centers on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the resulting empowerment of the early believers. I want here however, to explore the significance not of these events upon the early church, but of the nations gathered in Jerusalem.

The events recorded in chapter 2 take place on the Jewish festival of Pentecost, as the disciples of Jesus are empowered by the Holy Spirit and begin to preach the message of salvation. The gathering of Jews in the city came from many places and spoke many languages, yet all heard the preaching in their own language.

Pentecost is the Greek name for a Jewish festival known as Shavuot, or the feast of weeks. This festival, celebrated fifty days, or seven weeks, after the Passover, commemorated the giving of the law of Moses (which of course followed the exodus from Egypt which is commemorated in the Passover). It was also a celebration of the climax of the grain harvests, most specifically the first wheat harvest of the year, following the weeks since the barley was first harvested.

It was one of the festivals when Jewish pilgrims would come to Jerusalem for the celebration. Jerusalem was their special city, the home of the temple and an object of their earthly affections for their heavenly God. So, we read a list of peoples from every nation under heaven, within the worldview of the New Testament writer. Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome; Cretans and Arabs (Acts 2:9-11) were among those who heard the preaching of Peter. An example of such a visitor would be the Ethiopian eunuch, who had himself been to Jerusalem to worship when he encountered Philip early in his journey home. He was someone who had come up from the nations to visit Jerusalem.

God had called Abraham to become a great nation: a nation through whom all peoples on earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3) Successive dispersions of the descendants of Abraham from their promised land meant that there were Jewish communities in many parts of the known world. These communities maintained their religious distinctives, even having converts from the surrounding peoples joined to them, yet presumably were also a blessing to the peoples among whom they lived. It would be from among these diaspora Jews that worshippers would go up to Jerusalem, fulfilling Old Testament prophecies[i].

Yet that fulfilment would be incomplete. It would be primarily from among those who already claimed to be God’s people, and not from among the Gentiles. However, in that way, the gathering in Jerusalem at Pentecost is a prophetic foreshadow of that which God has planned for the role of His people through the great commission. We are commanded by our Lord to go and make disciples of all nations. (Matt 28:19) Furthermore, New Testament prophecy confirms what the Old Testament has already spoken about, of people from every nation, tribe and tongue gathered before the throne of God in eternity. Revelation 7:9 echoes Daniel 7:13-14, as the great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language worshiping before the throne and the lamb, remind us of all the peoples, nations and languages who are brought before One like the Son of Man to serve him.

There is a redemptive thread through this event that draws from even the pre-Abrahamic Old Testament experience. We find in Genesis chapter 10 a table of nations. Noah’s family have come out of the ark, a means of salvation from a sinful world. His sons have families from whom the nations spread out over the face of the earth. The names listed, with one exception, are not the same as those from which people came up to Jerusalem. However, Egypt, the regions of Mesopotamia, the coastlands and the Arabian peninsula are referenced. Reading chapter 11 alongside chapter 10 we come to the story of the Tower of Babel. The world had one language and a common speech. Working together men decided to build a city with a tower to make a name for themselves. God saw what they were doing and said: If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other (Genesis 11:6). Then He scattered them over the face of the earth.

Just as the sin of Adam and Eve, trying to be like God, had consequences, so the sin of the descendants of the Ark had consequences. Christ, not considering equality with God something to be grasped, appeared as a man to reverse the curse of Adam’s sin. So also, in this first moment of the history of the church the nations come together united in their worship of God, and, through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, able to understand one message across all language barriers.

In a moment commemorating the first appearance of the law, the message of the now delivered grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is first preached. In celebrating an earthly harvest, a heavenly harvest of the nations is heralded.

Paul tells us later in the Acts of the Apostles: From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him (Acts 17:26-27). Seemingly not part of God’s original plan, nations with all their diversity become an integral part of God’s redemptive plan to draw all peoples back into fellowship with himself.

[i] Isaiah 2:3 speaks of many peoples going up to the mountain of the Lord so that they may learn his ways; Zechariah 8:2 speaks of peoples and nations coming to Jerusalem to seek and entreat the Lord; Zephaniah 3:10 speaks of God’s worshippers and scattered peoples coming from beyond the Rivers of Cush to bring him offerings; Micah 4:2 speaks of nations going up to the mountain of the Lord where He will teach them His ways.
Posted in Missions, Nations, Teaching and Meditations, The Church | Tagged , | Leave a comment

PUDDING PERSPECTIVES

Pudding and Beef Make Britons Fight

– So, wrote the 18th Century English poet, Matthew Prior[i] describing the kind of hearty foods that had instilled courage and strength through centuries of British warfare –

My sister recently sent me a light-hearted article entitled British Food Explained for Americans that had been written in an endeavor to Make the American understanding of British food, Great Again. It prompted me to write about one of many Transatlantic linguistic misunderstandings.

It has often been said that Britain and the United States are two nations separated by a common language. There are many words in our common vocabulary that have evolved different meanings as the years have passed. The culinary aspect of life is rife with potential misunderstandings and one such concerns pudding. For the American the word simply refers to a smooth creamy dessert item, but for the Brit it is a diverse cornucopia of sweet and savory dishes.

I’m a Brit who has lived in the USA for more than twenty-five years. I’ve raised my family here and my kids are American with a British twist; some who know me might say a twisted British twist! As the main supper course comes to an end my kids will ask what’s for dessert? As a child, growing up in suburban England, I would never have asked that; it would always have been what’s for pudding? You see, what Americans call pudding is only one small part of the compendium of Great British dessert items. For many a British meal the pudding is what’s in the dessert bowl when served at table and the American pudding is the custard that is lavished upon it. What the Americans call pudding is merely an addition to what the Brits call pudding.

When my son was two-years-old we were staying with my sister and her family in England. She served a treacle sponge pudding for “dessert”. A flour and egg-based batter is steamed in a pudding basin and soaked in golden sugar syrup. We have a photo of Daniel tucking into his bowl of treacle sponge pudding covered in English custard with his teddy bear sitting beside the bowl. He enjoyed the experience so much that he asked for the same pudding a few years later when we were visiting again. Over the years we have assembled a collection of pictures of him at different ages but always with a bowl of treacle sponge pudding and his teddy bear looking on.

British tea sommelier and specialist Jane Pettigrew writes: The pudding that takes pride of place on the table is oh, so much more than just the sweet course that ends the meal. It is comfort and home and family and indulgence and contentment and, for each person sharing it, a little slice of a dream come true[ii]. So, for the British, the pudding can be a steamed batter pudding such as the aforementioned treacle sponge pudding, or chocolate sponge pudding, or sticky toffee pudding, each served with its own sauce or custard or pudding. It can be a doughy, suet-based[iii] dessert, using animal fat rather than butter, such as jam roly-poly, plum duff, or spotted dick. The latter is so named for the dried currants that make the spots throughout the dough or dick. Pudding can be much lighter fare as well, ranging from the English trifle of fruit and sponge soaked in jelly – American jello – covered with custard – pudding – and cream, through the syllabub and the fruit fool, to a wonderful summer pudding of berries and bread bound together by the sugary syrup of the fruit juices.

Pudding can also be pie, and of course, as such, can be covered with a generous helping of the custard that Americans call pudding. So, pies to all the standards familiar in America; single crust, double crust, filled with fruit, filled with syrupy, sticky concoctions designed to tempt the palate, become pudding at the British dinner table. Lemon meringue, treacle tart, and mincemeat tart were all favorites of mine, along with variations on the pie theme such as rhubarb crumble and apple charlotte, differing only in the fruit and type of crumb-based topping under which they are baked.

Pudding has become a great way to use up leftovers. Bread and Butter Pudding bakes stale bread, dried fruits and spices with an egg and milk custard to a crispy golden delectation, while Queen of Puddings presents something similar but with jam – jelly – instead of dried fruits and emerges from the oven much softer.

Classification of pudding includes regional variants. Bakewell pudding is the precursor of the Bakewell tart, originating in the early 19th century in the Derbyshire village of Bakewell. Fruit jam or preserves are baked in a pastry crust under an almond flavored batter. Meanwhile the heavy Sussex Pond pudding has gone out of fashion because a heavy suet pudding filled with saturated fat, along with sugar, butter and lemon, does not present itself well to the health conscious.

Unlike the American understanding of pudding, pudding can be savory. A steak and kidney pudding combines cubed steak with chopped kidney in a rich gravy steamed in a suet crust. Another regional variant, the Yorkshire pudding, has been described as the most important food you will ever eat by the author of the article my sister sent me[iv]. It is a crossover between the savory and the sweet and its near equivalent in the USA is a popover. A batter of eggs, milk and flour (thinner than an American pancake batter) is baked in hot oil until it is a crisp golden brown. It is then served as part of a traditional Sunday roast lunch, either as an appetizer with onion gravy poured over and into it, or with the roast beef, roast potatoes and a selection of vegetables. Echoing Matthew Prior, the parents of the Brownlee Brothers, Alistair and Jonny, world and Olympic champion triathletes, joke that the secret of their sons’ success is “roast beef and Yorkshire puddings”[v] Yet Yorkshire pudding can also be a sweet dessert. As a child, my family ate it both with Sunday lunch and as a dessert sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice.

The word ‘pudding’, or poding in Old English has its origins in the Old French word boudin, referring to a sausage made by filling an animal intestine with a mixture of cereals and spiced meat. Modern European sausages have obviously evolved differently from the pudding; however, a continuance of the medieval idea survives in various savory puddings such as black pudding, a combination of pig’s blood, pork fat and oatmeal[vi]. White pudding is similar, but with pork meat and bread crumbs added in place of the blood, and Hogs pudding can be found in the south-west of England where the addition of black pepper, cumin and garlic make the dish much spicier.

The Yorkshire pudding has a third variation, that of the Toad-in-the-Hole. In this case, the pudding is baked in a large pan with sausages laid in the batter, however the idea of a pudding (Yorkshire) being a pudding (Baked batter) with a pudding (sausage) in it may just be too linguistically challenging!

By the fourteenth century a more refined recipe for pudding contained suet, cream, breadcrumbs, and spices as well as meat, and was variously spelt poodyng, podding, puddingh or pooddynge.[vii] Elizabethan England saw the skin pouch or intestine in which the pudding was boiled replaced by a cloth. A solid mass, both sweet and savory was rolled to the size of a cannonball, wrapped tightly in a cloth and boiled for hours in the same pot that the meat and vegetables were stewed. By the eighteenth-century Samuel Johnson in his dictionary could define pudding as both a kind of food very variously compounded, but generally made of meal, milk and eggs and as A bowel stuffed with certain mixtures of meal and other ingredients [viii]

This latter definition would include the sovereign of the stuffed skins. With origins in antiquity but surviving into the modern era, the Scottish haggis mixes oats, onions and spices with the chopped heart and lungs of a lamb, stitches them into a sheep’s stomach and boils them for a fine traditional dish. But Americans really need not concern themselves with this ‘pudding’ because it is illegal in the USA [ix]. Legal variations containing liver and kidneys are available.

The haggis is not only a tradition in itself, it is also a traditional dish to be paraded before the diners. As Scotland celebrates the poet Robert Burns, on Burns Night in late January, the haggis is paraded into the dining hall preceded by a Scottish piper.

The most famous of British puddings is the Christmas Pudding. This is the most natural descendant of the original Medieval pudding, as it most closely resembles those meaty, fruity, spicy mixtures. In my favorite version, dried fruits and nuts are mixed with flour, breadcrumbs, brown sugar, molasses, suet, shredded apple and carrot, spices, dried citrus peel, eggs, brandy and orange and lemon juices. Victorian cook Isabella Beeton says of the method: Let the suet be finely chopped, the raisins stoned, and the currants well-washed, picked and dried. Mix these with the other dry ingredients and stir all well together; beat and strain the eggs to the pudding, stir these in, and add just sufficient milk to make it mix properly. Tie it up in a well-floured cloth, put it into boiling water and boil for at least five hours [x].

Typical quantities from Mrs. Beeton’s recipe would have been huge, as the pudding, or puddings were intended to feed a crowd. This prompted more recent cookery author Elizabeth David to comment in 1970: Now, all those with their fine talk of the glories of Old English fare, have they ever actually made Christmas pudding, in large quantities, by old English methods? Have they, for instance, ever tried cleaning and skinning, flouring, shredding, chopping beef kidney suet straight off the hoof? Have they ever stoned bunch after bunch of raisins hardly yet dry on the stalk and each one as sticky as a piece of warm toffee? And how long do they think it takes to bash up three pounds of breadcrumbs without an oven in which they could first dry the loaves? [xi]

A Christmas pudding should ideally be made weeks in advance and allowed to mature in a cool place. It can then be reheated for the celebratory meal, placed on a platter and paraded into the dining room flaming blue from a dousing with brandy.

So, there you have it, all my American friends – An overview of what the Brits call: Pudding!

[i] Matthew Prior – Alma, or The Progress of the Mind, Canto III – Quoted in Robert Chambers’ English Literature Vol 3 – New York American Book Exchange, 1879 – p.157

[ii] The English Pudding – Jane Pettigrew – Jarrold Publishing 2006 – p.6

[iii] Suet is generally dried and dessicated beef fat from the dense area of fat around the kidneys, although some vegetarian options are now available.

[iv] British Food, Explained For Americans – Luke Bailey – Buzzfeed.com – April 27, 2018 – https://www.buzzfeed.com/lukebailey/british-food-explained-for-americans?utm_term=.kyWqBBd2pP&ref=mobile_share#.qizkRRMDgn (accessed May 7, 2018)

[v] http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leeds-41361803 (accessed May 15, 2018)

[vi] Something which I prefer not to mention in the presence of Muslim and Jewish friends.

[vii] The English Pudding – Jane Pettigrew – Jarrold Publishing 2006 – p.8

[viii] Samuel Johnson – A Dictionary of the English Language – London, Knapton and Longman, 1879 – Vol.II p. 1599

[ix] Livestock lungs shall not be saved for use as human food. – The Code of Federal Regulations – paragraph  310.16a p.366

[x] Isabella Beeton – Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management – London, S.O.Beeton, 1861 – p.683

[xi] Elizabeth David and Jill Norman – Southwind Through the Kitchen: the Best of Elizabeth David – David Godine, 2006 – p. 273

Posted in Culture and Politics, Family News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

NATIONAL ATHEIST DAY – A CELEBRATION OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST

“The fool says in his heart, there is no God!”. Psalm 14:1

This year Easter Sunday falls on April 1st. The last time this happened was in 1956, when only 10% of those alive today were around to experience it. Most of us have therefore never known what it is to have the greatest event of the Christian calendar coincide with a day full of hoaxes.

April 1st has been known as April Fools Day in some places since the Medieval era with possible references in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the work of the French poet Eloy D’Amerval. The first reference in the modern English-speaking world dates from 1686 when the poet John Aubrey referred to Fooles Holy Day. A few years later, on April 1st, 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to see the Lions washed.

A practice of playing practical jokes on April 1st has grown in much of the western world during the modern era. Among the most famous hoaxes are the BBC Panorama news segment on April 1st, 1957, concerning the spaghetti trees of Ticino, Switzerland, and the 2008 CGI flying penguin story for the BBC I-Player. In 1977 Britain’s Guardian newspaper published a seven-page travel supplement for the islands of San Serriffe[i]. The islands were apparently situated in the Indian Ocean and consisted of a small archipelago; the largest two being in the shape of a semi-colon. Place names and many other references to the islands were terms from the printing industry, and the capital was named for the font Bodoni. Well known corporations such as Kodak and Texaco placed advertisements referencing their interests in San Serriffe in the article and construction company Costain stated that they were building a new harbor for the nation in an announcement rich with typographical illusions.

National Atheist Day, otherwise known as the Day of Reason was created in 2003 by the American Humanist Association and the Washington Area Secular Humanists, to take place on the first Thursday of May each year and coincide with the National Day of Prayer, an institution that these organizations reject as divisive. Their intent was to provide an opportunity to celebrate reason, a concept all Americans can support—and to raise public awareness about the persistent threat to religious liberty posed by government intrusion into the private sphere of worship.[ii]

However, the idea that National Atheist Day should really be celebrated on April 1st comes from a hoax article about a fictitious Florida court case that was also launched in 2003. An Atheist had decided to sue the government because unlike the major religions there was no recognized day for atheist celebrations. The fictitious judge dismissed the case on the basis that atheists could celebrate on April 1st because the fool says in his heart, there is no God.

The Christian community celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday each year. Christians believe that having been put to death upon a cross of crucifixion, Jesus body was placed in a tomb, from where he arose, three days later. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian believers speaks of this resurrection[iii]. He states that if there had been no resurrection, then the preaching of the gospel message would have been in vain, and so would faith. He goes on to state that the community of believers would be pitiable above all peoples, because of the folly of their belief.

Yet the resurrection is recorded as a true event. Many have sought to debunk the resurrection, lowering it to the level of a myth. However, in doing so, some have come to faith as they got to grips with the evidence.

Albert Ross was an advertising agent and freelance writer, when in 1930 he published Who Moved the Stone?[iv] Intent on proving that the resurrection was just a myth, Ross analyzed the sources and in writing up his notes concluded that the resurrection was a true event. He set out his reasoning in the book. The poet T. S. Eliot was a literary consultant who read the manuscript and recommended it for publication. Passing on complimentary copies to his friends, one reached the hands of the author G. K. Chesterton who wrote a review saying that the case for the resurrection was treated in such a logical and even legal manner.[v]

More recently the atheist Chicago journalist, Lee Strobel, set to applying his legal and investigative training to research the evidence of Christianity after his wife became a Christian. His conclusions led him to faith. He points to the many eyewitnesses of the resurrection, who then went on to endure incredible hardships on behalf of what they believed, as strong evidence for the veracity of their claims to have seen, touched and eaten with the resurrected Jesus. He cites nine ancient sources both inside and outside the New Testament that confirm and corroborate the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the resurrected Jesus, and seven ancient sources mostly outside the New Testament that confirm that the disciples lived lives of deprivation and suffering for the sake of the gospel[vi]. Why would they do this, he asks, if they simply heard a rumor that Jesus had been raised from the dead?

The Christian may sometimes be called a fool for Christ. Again, in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of the apostles being put on display like those condemned to die in the Roman arena, as he describes them as fools for Christ, who have become the scum of the world[vii]. In a 2015 episode of the TV program Witness, Stephen Colbert was interviewed by Fr. Thomas Rosica. Colbert, who replaced David Letterman as host of CBS’ Late Show[viii] in 2014, is a devout Catholic and not ashamed of his Christian beliefs. Asked what it means to be a fool for Christ, he responded that it is the willingness to be wrong in society, or wrong according to our time, but right according to our conscience, as guided by the Holy Spirit.[ix]

While the Christian may be called a fool, Christ encourages us not to be quick to call another a fool, going so far as to say that it puts us in danger of hell. There is a righteous anger, but there is also an anger that is unrighteous and addresses others inappropriately. I would rather the Christian community treat the atheist with the same love that we are commanded to treat our neighbors, not regarding him as an enemy, but as one on the same journey as ourselves – merely at a different place. We would thus not only demonstrate Christian love to the atheist but also the tolerance and respect we would appreciate from him for the beliefs of the Christian.

The word of God does however, have some strong words to say about those who do not believe. Paul, writing this time to the believers in Rome, speaks of those who suppress the truth even though what may be known about God is plain to them. He says: For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.[x]

The reality for Christians is that Jesus rose from the dead. The Bible records this event; we believe it. By faith we experience it, and we live in the expectation of the resurrection of the dead in Christ and of life everlasting. The atheist can believe what he wants … or not. But his belief, or lack thereof, does nothing to change the reality of what he does not believe in.

Whether or not the atheist is the fool, the Christian declares by his belief that he is no fool. Bible commentator Matthew Henry wrote a biography of his father, the seventeenth century English preacher, Philip Henry. Recalling his father’s acts of charity and kindness, Matthew attributes to him the words: He is no fool who parts with that which he cannot keep, when he is sure to be recompensed with that which he cannot lose[xi].

This thought was immortalized for the twentieth century church by missionary martyr Jim Elliot who wrote in his journal October 28, 1949: He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose[xii].

This April 1st Christians celebrate the Resurrection. Whatever deceives the fool, Christians will celebrate; whatever believes the atheist, Christians will celebrate – no joke, and no hoax!

[i] https://www.theguardian.com/gnmeducationcentre/archive-educational-resource-april-2012 (accessed March 29, 2018)
[ii] National Day of Prayer, National Day of Reason – Richard E. Wackrow – The Missoulian – May 7, 2015 (accessed March 29, 2018)
[iii] I Corinthians 15:12-19 – But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
[iv] Who Moved the Stone? – Frank Morison – pub. Faber & Faber Ltd. 1930
[v] G. K. Chesterton – Our Note Book – The Illustrated London News, April 5 1930
[vi] Lee Strobel – http://www.faithwire.com/2018/03/14/ex-atheist-lee-strobel-breaks-down-4-reasons-why-jesus-death-and-resurrection-are-absolute-fact/ (accessed March 30, 2018)
[vii] 1 Corinthians 4:9-13
[viii] A long-running, and very popular late night talk show
[ix] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevin-wax/stephen-colbert-on-being-a-fool-for-christ/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lF5tudIqN7w (both accessed March 30, 2018)
[x] Romans 1:21-23
[xi] Matthew Henry – The Life of the Rev. Philip Henry A.M. – W. Ball, 1839 – p.35
[xii] Elisabeth Elliot – The Shadow of the Almighty – New York, Harpers, 1958 – p.108
Posted in Teaching and Meditations, The Church | Tagged | Leave a comment

THE OUTRAGED CHRIST

In 2016 I wrote a reflection on the Resurrection as a revelation of the Glory of God in ways that our human minds cannot fully grasp. I did this after I had viewed many images of the crucifixion from the work of the great European painters of the Renaissance era. Christ has been pictured on the cross as a suffering servant. He has been depicted with the great compassion that He has for all mankind. He has been represented in victory over sin and the grave.

Outraged Christ smallOn a recent visit to Liverpool, England, I came across another representation of Christ on the cross. This time, not of painted artwork, but of wood sculpture. The Outraged Christ is a work by Charles Lutyens that presently stands in one of the transepts of Liverpool Cathedral. It is made from slats of wood, dowelled and glued together, and then sculpted using a large chisel and a chain saw. At fifteen feet high, it is a much larger crucifix than we are used to seeing in churches. Looking up at it, it dominates far more than the actual crucifixion would have done.

Over thirty years in the creation, The Outraged Christ began as a head alone. Lutyens laid this spontaneous work aside for many years while he contemplated what it might become. With the intent of having an encounter with this ‘Man’ and with the reality of the event taking place, the sculpture was driven by such questions as “Who was this Man?”, “What did He look like?” and “Why was this crucifixion remembered for 2,000 years over and above the countless other crucifixions that have taken place?” [i] Lutyens found himself thinking: “If the resurrection happened, then was it not already inherent in the crucifixion?” Thus, The Outraged Christ looks as if he is about to leap from the cross. As I looked at the right foot, nailed far up the cross with knee raised and bent, I contemplated a Christ who looked ready to spring forward and destroy His enemies. Meanwhile the other foot, stretched out at the length of the leg, with toes flexed outward, looked as though it were cramping in great pain.

In an article in the Church Times, Lord Harries wrote: The first Christians liked to show Christ victorious on the cross. The medieval period focused on his suffering for the sins of the world. The 20th century, too, emphasised almost exclusively the suffering of Christ — but, more often than not, as a suffering of a terrible century. The depiction of an outraged Christ is, so far as I know, a fresh addition to Christian iconography.[ii]

A panel beside the statue includes the words: Being who He was and having been outraged in the temple, how could he not be outraged at the appalling treatment of human to human, as He was experiencing it.

Our commemoration of the crucifixion often emphasizes the humility of Christ. We are told: he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth[iii] and: being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross![iv]. Our presentation of the gospel often emphasizes the sacrifice for sin, with victory over sin and death inherent in Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. We preach: And by (God’s) will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all [v] and: The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ[vi]. We are reminded that: He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; The punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. [vii]

We are also reminded that in the compassion of Christ as he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it. [viii] The gospel writers were aware of the fulfilment of prophecy affirming that He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases[ix]. As He suffered the punishment for our sin, he also suffered with the sufferings of mankind. As much as His sacrifice was a payment for sin, it was also an identification with the consequence of sin.

Christ, whose righteous indignation drove the money changers from the temple, telling them they were making the house of prayer into a den of robbers, went willingly to the cross. The Christ who spoke woe unto the lawyers and the Pharisees, describing them as hypocrites and likening them to whitewashed tombs did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing[x] or, as the New American Standard, translates: emptied himself.

The Christ who went to the cross left everything behind. His few earthly possessions were taken from him, His friends abandoned him, and the adulation of the previous week’s crowd was only a memory. His parables, His teaching, His words of wisdom, even His prayers were left behind. As He cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” he also lost sight of all things being under His power, which he had declared so recently when He washed His disciples’ feet. These all had to be stripped away to fully assume all the sin of the world.

Christ made it clear that He came to do His Father’s will. He said to the Jewish leaders: the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing.[xi] In the garden, again, so recently, He declared to His Father, “not my will, but yours be done!”. The writer to the Hebrews, reflecting on a Psalm of David, ascribes his words to Christ: Here I am … I have come to do your will, my God.[xii] In doing the will of His father, and emptying himself to go to the cross, he could leave anger behind trusting in the knowledge, as Paul writes, that while, in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed … The wrath of God (The Father) is (also) being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of mankind[xiii]

Somewhere, maybe not in the man, whose broken body hung upon the cross, but in the powerful, prophetic and creative word that spoke stars and seas into being, remained an echo of the Psalmist’s expression: The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” [xiv]

In this victory, the outrage and the indignation of Christ find their rightful place.

[i] Marianna Lutyens – http://www.lutyenstrust.org.uk/portfolio-item/charles-lutyenss-crucifixion-recently-installed-at-liverpools-anglican-cathedral/ (accessed March 26, 2018)
[ii] A New Way of Looking – The Rt. Revd. Lord Harries of Pentregarth – The Church Times – August 19, 2011
[iii] Isaiah 53:7
[iv] Philippians 2:8
[v] Hebrews 10:10
[vi] 1 Corinthians 15:56,57
[vii] Isaiah 53:5
[viii] Luke 9:41
[ix] Matthew 8:17 quoting Isaiah 52:4
[x] Philippians 2:6,7
[xi] John 5:19
[xii] Hebrews 10:7
[xiii] Romans 1:17,18
[xiv] Psalm 2:4-6

All quotes are from the New International Version of the Bible

Posted in Teaching and Meditations, The Church | Tagged | Leave a comment

BLEEDING HANDS AND BLISTERED FEET

– A Christmas Meditation –

Through a series of recent mishaps my fingers got cut. First, I cleared out the sink and did the dishes. I wiped a glass, not realizing it had fallen into the sink and the rim was chipped. I cut across one of my fingers. I’ve healed up nicely but should probably have had stitches. I have several other scars testifying to similar experiences over the years.

Other minor accidents with a broken window, a plumbing repair and a string whipped through my fingers meant that for a few days my right hand was a mess of Bandaids (Plasters for the British reader). The cuts are mostly healed now, but for a moment I was reminded of the inconvenience of wounds. Mobility is affected. Water causes the Bandaids to come off. Simply dealing with everyday life causes the dressings to deteriorate.

Throughout history, men and women seem destined to bruise and bloody their hands in work. Lamech, named his son, the Biblical Noah, saying: He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.[i] Thousands of years later a baby was born, destined to reverse that curse. But before that could happen, his hands also had to suffer.

As I think about the coming of the Son of Heaven, the baby born to be Lord of all, I have been contemplating the ways in which His hands suffered. Those which were pure, sinless, and unaffected by the cares of this world, chose to become servants of all. Hands, trained at the carpenter’s bench, became victims of cuts and bruises, splinters and sprains. Hands, offered in healing, were muddied by an earthy salve for a blind man’s eyes, and risked the infection of leprosy and other skin diseases. The hands of heaven engaged with the world, breaking bread and fish to feed a crowd, raising up a little girl from death, washing the dirty feet of disciples, and breaking Passover bread to bless them all. These same hands were then broken and crushed, nailed cruelly upon the crucifier’s cross. In the words of worship leader Graham Kendrick: Hands that flung stars into space, to cruel nails surrendered.[ii]

We all know how painful a blister on the heel can be after a long walk. A friend of mine must take care when walking. His diabetes means that blisters on his feet do not heal easily. Jesus and his disciples walked everywhere. I am sure there were times when their feet were rubbed raw. Jesus’ feet took him all over Judaea, Samaria and Galilee so that he could preach the good news. They were feet that were protected only by leather sandals as he walked the rudimentary roads of his day, covered with dirt, dung and the general detritus of life. As those earthy feet neared the end of his earthly life, he chose to wash, not his own, but the feet of all his disciples; feet covered with grimy, hard calluses. And then, at last, His feet also had to suffer, broken and crushed upon the cross.

We all know how essential hands and feet are to our daily lives. As Christ gave His hands and feet to the selfless work of the Kingdom so Christians throughout the ages have consecrated the members of their bodies to His service. In the 19th century words of the Welsh hymn writer, Frances Havergal: Take my hands and let them move, at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee[iii] and those of Mary James, a leader in the Wesleyan Holiness movement in the United States: Let my hands perform His bidding; Let my feet run in His ways.[iv]

As we celebrate the coming of the Christ, many of us in the Christian community are reminded that there are still many who have never heard of His coming. Christians also look forward to the second coming of the Christ, often oblivious that free access to Good News in many of our worlds, is absent in the worlds of others.

Around the globe, Christmas worship includes versions of an old negro spiritual with the injunction to Go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born. Yet many mountains are the most inaccessible places for the gospel. Thousands of communities of people, unreached by the gospel, live in mountainous, desert and forested regions. They have never heard the good news of Jesus’ first coming. Other communities where there is no church are found in our cities, among migrant communities and refugees.

In 1941 Robert Jaffray reflected upon the words of Isaiah[v] when, from a life-time of gospel service among hill tribes of Borneo, he wrote: One day it will all be finished and the weary feet, all scarred, bleeding and sore, will cross the last mountain and tread the last trail, reach the last tribe and win the last soul. Then He Himself will exclaim, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! How beautiful the feet that have brought good tidings and proclaimed salvation to perishing souls.’ Then indeed it will be true that our Christ reigns over all the world, over every nation. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess Him.[vi]

As Christ came into the world, willing to suffer, so we all are called to lay aside comfort and be bent to His Will so that the world may know the Good News. In the words of Amy Carmichael, another missionary: No wound? No scar? Yet, as the Master shall the servant be, and pierced are the feet that follow Me. But thine are whole; can he have followed far Who has no wound nor scar?[vii]

As we remember Bethlehem and receive the Christ again this Christmas-time, let us be renewed in our commitment that every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess Him Lord indeed. Let us be renewed in our commitment that among every unreached people the dear Christ shall enter in.

 

[i] Gen 5:29

[ii] The Servant King – Graham Kendrick, © 1983

[iii] Take My Life and Let it Be – Frances Ridley Havergal, 1874

[iv] All for Jesus, All for Jesus – Mary Dagworthy James, 1871

[v] How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news. Isaiah 52:7

[vi] Report to the New York office of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, 1941 – Dr. Robert Jaffray – Quoted in Cannibal Valley, Russell Hitt, 1962 Christian Publications, Harrisburg, PA, p.49

[vii] Scars – Quoted from “Mountain Breezes: The Collected Poems of Amy Carmichael” – 1999, CLC

 

Posted in Missions, Teaching and Meditations, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment