Touching the Hem

A short devotional reading of Mark 6:53-56

They landed in Gennesaret – on the NW side of Sea of Galilee, just south of Capernaum.

This is the historic land allocation of the Tribe of Naphtali.

In Deuteronomy (33:23), the blessing of Moses to this tribe reads:

“And of Naphtali he said, ‘O Naphtali, sated/abounding with favour, and full of the blessing of the Lord, possess the lake/west and the south.

With this immense blessing, it is no wonder Gennesaret means:  Garden of the Prince.

The Garden recalls the fullness of Eden, sated with favour, full of blessing.

The Prince calls for the Messiah, the Saviour, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

This is a place where the King rules in fullness of majesty, possessing the earth in fullness of blessing.

So Jesus goes to Gennesaret.

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The Nuremberg Code is a Direct Consequence of the Judeo-Christian Worldview

At the 1947 Nuremberg Trials after WW2, the Nazi Doctors responsible for horrific medical experiments were held to account. They were, in essence, charged with violating the moral laws of the universe.

Since then, the Nuremberg Code insisted and without exception, on voluntary consent to any medical procedure.

“This means that the person involved should have the legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him/her to make an understanding an enlightening decision.”

This is an ethic that directly springs from the Judeo-Christian worldview.

It is an example, albeit in non-religious language, of the Gospel coming to bear on a situation.

The Bible knows nothing of enforced Nazi medical experiments.

But it does know all about the human heart and our capacity for evil.

It does know, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote in the brilliant Gulag Archipelago:

“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained”

This is a comment that has been informed, shaped and spoken by a Whole Gospel.

A Gospel that tells us the truth of things.

Propaganda

Two farmers were leaning against a fence staring intensely at the horizon of a field where you could just make out the sheep, and there seemed to be a problem, but they couldn’t quite see it, so one famer said to the other, “I’m going to go over there and ‘ave a proper ganda!”

A “proper ganda” in this South West England meaning is to have a closer look, to begin to see what is really going on. Propaganda, on the other hand, is precisely the opposite. It is designed to obscure, to blur and hide. And we humans are surrounded by propaganda all the time, not least in the heated culture wars of the West where Critical Theories have played their hand for decades and are now calling in the chips of chaos and disorder.

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Held by Love

A few years ago when I visited Cambodia with a team from church, I read Mike Higton’s excellent but demanding little book called ‘Difficult Gospel – the theology of Rowan Williams’. It really is full of profound insights and commentary and hightly recommended. I re-read a bit of it today (pg. 17-18) and share it here – wonderful stuff:


“We are all of us precarious creatures.  We live in environments we cannot control, and are hedged about by limits we cannot overcome.  We face frustrations, we face competition for scarce resources, and we are jostled in a confined space by the egos of others

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The Ideal Ministry 7/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth this year (2021), I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

7. The Ideal Ministry: Flexibility of Thought

An Ideal ministry must not only be positive in its gospel, it must be flexible in its thought. It must be capable of preparing a new theology for the old faith. It must learn how to express the old reality in terms of the new age. It must speak the word of God in the language of the time. It must not be “stupidly good.”

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The Ideal Ministry 4/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth this year (2021), I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

4. The Ideal Ministry: MISSIONARY

“The ideal ministry must be missionary. It must be in the apostolic succession. Here again it is the organ of the Church. The Church is nothing if not apostolic. But apostolic in the true sense of the word – missionary and evangelical. We are gaining clearer views of what the Apostles really were. They were not Bishops. They were missionaries. evangelists on the great scale. They were not organisers, administrators, hierarchs. They were heralds, preachers. They were not there to regulate enthusiasm, but rather to rouse and spread it.

They were firebrands much more than fire brigades. They stirred the spirit, they did not quench it. The ideal ministry must be missionary at home or abroad. It must have the propagandist passion, the contagious secret, the universal dream, the pity, the love, the power of faith, the pity for mankind.

But I will not dwell on that here. We are all convinced, of the missionary nature of the Church and ministry.

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