Jesus: The Firstborn Over All Creation

Colossians 1.15:23  is Hymn to Christ that predates Paul’s usage of it here.

This “hymn” was the first Bible passage to truly capture my imagination.

And by “imagination” I mean my mind, my heart and my very being.

In these words I learned my first Greek word.

I bought a Gk-Heb dictionary soon after my conversion in the early 1990’s.

I’ll be honest, it felt good buying it; But using it was like teaching a toddler metaphysics in Medieval Latin.

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The Dragon

My daughter has a story book about a boy who wakes up one day and sees a little baby dragon in his room. It’s all rather harmless and when he tells his mother about it, she tells him to stop making stuff up and get dressed and come down for breakfast, using her repeated phrase, and the title of the book, “There’s no such thing as a dragon!”

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Let My People Go

The battle for inner courage and then for action was on display in the life of Moses. Given his instructions from I AM at the Burning Bush in Exodus 3, he set out to return to the Egyptian royal court and make his one simple, four word request: “Let my people go!”

This is the tension of human history between those who love, crave and have power over other people, and the masses who simply long to be free and live free without interference. This spirit of Pharoah the tyrant is rising again like a foul smell or a painful memory we all thought had gone away. But oh no, he is arbitrarily doubling down as Pharoah increased the work load and reduced the means by which to make it harder: More bricks, less straw. Or, work harder for less; face the lash of the whip more often; increase the sense of hopelessness and defeat and you’ve shown what a big man you are. This time last year they said we would be free. And we are still not free. Next Easter for freedom, or next year in Jerusalem, as faithful Jews pray. The worst part of three weeks to flatten the curve is always the first TWO years!

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St Nicholas, the Arians, and the Nicene Creed

The ancient Christian St Nicolas was a heroic defender of Christian orthodoxy, defending the Nicene creed as it weeves its way through the deep and dark truth of the nature of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In making this stand, the Arians lost the theological war for the truth of God (again, and thank God)! And so we too must make the same stand against the modern day heresies that try to redefine God into some kind if meaningless entity, or otherwise a New Age Hippy or a Marxist left or Fascist right religio-nutter or denier – take your pick.

Below is a Modern Christmas carol fighting an old and stuffy heresy. Sung to the tune of Jingle Bells, it can be a lot of fun – which heretics always hate! It is written by Ben Myers.

Possible titles: “Santa Ain’t an Arian”, or “Put Some of That Old Time Trinitarian Theology in Your Stocking”, or “All I Want for Christmas Is the Faith of Saint Nick,” or, perhaps best of all (suggested by David Koyzis), “Ho-ho-homoousios”. Whatever you call it, just be sure to sing it nice and jolly, accompanied by sleigh bells.

To the tune of Jingle Bells

Chorus:
Nicholas, you’re the best,
Nicky all the way!
Defender of the Nicene ὁμοούσιον Πατρί – hey!
Nicholas, you’re the best,
Nicky all the way!
Defender of the Nicene ὁμοούσιον Πατρί.

“There was when he was not,”
said Arius & Co.
It seems they had forgot
that God has come below:
born in Bethlehem,
crucified and raised,
not a creature but the One
whom angels hymn with praise – oh!

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God Alone Suffices

Nada te turbe, Let nothing disturb you,

nada te espante Let nothing frighten you,

todo se pasa, All things pass away:

Dios no se muda, God never changes.

la paciencia todo lo alcanza, Patience obtains all things

quien a Dios tiene He who has God

nada le falta Finds he lacks nothing;

solo Dios basta. God alone suffices.

The Hebrew word for Love is Hesed.

The Greek word for Love Agape.

The Arabic word for Love is Habibi. Whoever has God lacks nothing.

In the original writing of Teresa

The Weird Sheep, the Scape Goat and the Carnival Clown (or Prophet)

The ‘weird sheep’ is a phrase I recently came across in a video interview with Bret & Heather Weinstein where they talked about the concept of the ‘weird sheep’, a theme they develop in their new book ‘A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life’. This intrigued me, because I’d not heard of the term before (at least not phrased exactly like that), yet the idea of it resonated. I had, however, heard of the ‘black sheep’. It’s likely we all know about this because we’ve all got one or two in the family. It could even be me, or you.

1. ‘Weird sheep’ was a great concept to think about. Every society needs those who do not fit the normative roles and expectations of polite society. They are the ones on the margins, those who say weird and wacky things, those who, when they are socially present, others raise a knowing eyebrow to each other, signalling that “we all know they are the odd one and we are the normal ones” = the normal ones who always think they know and see things clearly. But it is the weird one that will alert a complying, self-satisfied and generally happy to maintain the status-quo crowd that something is up, or wrong, or about to go down.

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Advent ‘Greetings’ or “Hey, Boo!”

“Greetings” is the first word of the Christmas story. Today, it has come to mean a pleasant way to say hello to someone, but often, no more than this. Yet, in the Christmas story, the word “greetings” (Gk. χαίρω) is remarkably rich in meaning.

Mary’s role in the coming of Jesus Christ into the world is utterly unique (Luke 1). So the words had to carry deep meaning. ‘Greetings’ was a word related to rejoicing and a free gift of grace. Over the past 20 months, there has not been much reason to rejoice, and we’ve all needed extra grace to get through.

And yet, the simple word “greetings” carries deeper meaning. Linked to rejoicing and grace, but also the idea of being favourably disposed. We love it when people like us, when they are favourably disposed towards us. It might make us rejoice; or make us aware that this kindness is indeed a grace.

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