Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Supper of the Lamb - 4

I would definitely reccommend reading this book alongside Tom Wright's 'Surprised by Hope' . Wright certainly gives some more flesh and meat to what is already a very solid theology, setting this orthodox view in the context of other prevailing world and Christians views. Here is another great quote...

''Why do we marry, why take friends or lovers, why give ourselves to music, painting chemistry or cooking? Out of simple delight in the resident goodness of creation, of course; but out of more than that, too. Half of the earth's gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become, for all it rooted loveliness, the world has no continuing city here; it is an outlandish place, a foreign home, a session in via to a better version of itself - and it our glory to see it so and thirst until Jerusalem comes home at last. We were given appetites, not consume the world and forget it, but to taste it goodness and hunger to make it great.''

And a Tom Wright quotes which expresses the same idea, in a different sort of way...
''We might even suggest, as part of the Christ aesthetic, that the world is beautiful, not because is hauntingly reminds us of its Creator, but because it is pointing forwards: it is designed to filled, flooded, drenched in God; as a chalice is beautiful not least because we know what it is designed to contain, or as a violin is beautiful not least because we know what music it is capable.'''

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The Water is Wide

Can't get enough of James Taylor.
His music.Timeless.
I like it.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

The Supper of the Lamb - 3

The only way for me to exhaust this book of quotable material would be to type the whole thing out. That is not happening. Here goes...
'Man invented cooking before he thought of nutrition. To be sure, food keeps us alive, but that is only its smallest and most temporary work. Its eternal purpose os to furnish our sensibilitiesagainst the ay when we shall sit down at the heavenly banquet and see how gracious the Lord is. Nourishment is necessary only for a while; what we shall need forever is taste.'
Have you ever wondered why when we give thanks for our food we call it 'Grace'? Perhaps this passage gives you an insight as to the answer. I find it amazing that God in his infinite goodness gives us signs and symbols in life, to lead us in remembrance and praise of Him; food is one of these signs, these gifts of grace.

Next time you sit down at the dinner table and a glorious feast is laid out in front of you, don't forget to remember in your 'grace' a word of thanksgiving. Remember to praise God for the glorious heavenly banquet we have waiting in store for us, when we go to be with the bridegroom...our Lord Jesus Christ. Here our mouths will be filled with a taste so sweet, our lips when never cease to give Him praise.'O, taste and see that the Lord is good!' (Psalm 34:8)

Monday, 12 January 2009

The Supper of the Lamb - 2

The last post dealt with the essential fact that everything is spiritual...that we should refrain from trying toward distinctions between a more noble 'spiritual world' against a more base 'material world.' I feel compelled to say a few more words on this matter.

In teaching us to pray in Matthew 6, Jesus shows us the importance of praying for seemingly spiritual things. He asks us to pray that his kingdom be established, his will accomplished, that sins be forgiven and temptation be overcome, yet sitting somewhat uncomfortably in the middle of all of this, he teaches us to pray for our 'daily bread.' Such a request seems so out of place, so unspirutual, so base.

We could easily try and jump to a spiritual interpretation of such a phrase, the description of Jesus as the 'bread of life' made clear in the gospel of John, or perhaps a reference to the Lord's Supper would be two such 'spritual readings.' However there is an unavoidable earthiness about the nature of bread; Eugene Peterson says 'bread stubbornly resists spiritualisation.' Scholarly opinion also has settled on the fact that this passages undoubtedly refers to normal, every day, shopping list, burnt toast, bread.

We can take delight in the fact that Jesus teaches us to pray for material provision, and that he does not expect of us a moral standard which intends us to shun material needs. Firstly there is the simple fact of the matter our bodies need sustenance, food to give us strength, strength to glorify the name of Jesus. Secondly there is a wonderful beauty to be found in food, indeed we are all familiar with the sumptuous aromas of freshly prepared bread, the way it is still warm to touch. A prayer for daily provision not only reminds us that it is indeed the Lord who is our great provider of strength, but the provider of beatuy, pleasure and enjoyment also. Robert Farrar Capon in the The Supper of the Lamb describes 'food as 'the daily sacrament of unnecessary goodness, ordained for the continual remembrance that world will always be more delicious than it is useful.'

Sunday, 11 January 2009

The Supper of the Lamb - 1

I was graced with many excellent books this Christmas, none more so than The Supper of the Lamb, kindly received from the wonderful Katelyn Vorpahl herself. I have decided to share a few quotes with you from the book, here goes...
'There is a habit which plagues many so called spiritual minds: they imagine that somehow matter and spirit are at odds with each other and that the right course for human life is to escape from the world of matter into some finer and purer (and undoubtedly duller) realm. To this is a crashing mistake - and it is, above all, a theological mistake. Because, in fact, it is God who invented dirt, onions and turnip greens, God who invented human being with their strange compulsion to cook their food; God who, at the end of each day of creation, pronounced a resound ''Good!'' over his own concoctions. And it is God's unrelenting love of all the stuff in this world that keeps it in being at every moment. So, if we are fascinated, even intoxicated by matter, it is no surprise: we are made in the image of the Ultimate Materialist.'
I winced and shook my head in utter disbelief as the person conducting the meeting, whilst away at training, exhorted us as a group to remain focussed as he told us we were entering the 'spiritual part of the day.' I said in reply, quietly in under my breath.... 'as if the day thus far had not been spiritual.' This is really the crux of this passage here...everything is spiritual, whether you choose to recognise it or not. Let us not become a bunch of neo - platonic dualists who frown upon the material world in favour of the more noble 'spiritual world.'

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Too much stuff!

Some news stories are just truly shocking:
''A spinster who obsessively hoarded clothes died in her home after a mountain of suitcases fell on her, burying her alive. Joan Cunnane (77) owned 300 scarves as well as thousands of trinkets and valuables. They took up so much space in her bungalow that she only had a 2ft wide path to get around them, and her car and garage were packed with other goods. After she was reported missing earlier this week it took police searching her home 2 days to sift through her stuff. Miss Cunnane was eventually found buried under a 3ft foot pile of cases in a back bedroom where apparently she had gone in search of her favourite item. The eccentric pensioner, who had no known family, is thought to died of dehydration several days earlier on Boxing Day.''
The last few days have taught me the appreciation of things which really matter. This year I will certainly be stream lining my life, and not just the things I own, to make room for those things which really do matter. The prayer for myself this year is that I be kept from collapsing, not physically, but spiritually under a mountain of things which don't really matter...that I be kept from suffocating under the pressure of a temporary world, trying to sell me temporary things.