Tag Archives: lent

Draw Something About Slavery

Everyone, including me, seems to be hooked on the new app, “draw something“. it is number one on both the free and paid apps charts in app store. In its first five weeks, it was downloaded 20 million times. Move over Angry Birds!

The app involves drawing a picture, from a choice of 3 (easy, medium, hard), and then sending it to someone else to guess. It’s the mobile equivalent of ‘pictionary’ and its incredibly addictive (at least for the first couple of weeks).

I woke up this morning to find reminders for 17 drawings that I was still to guess. 17 drawings! And the thing is, if you manage to get that list down to 0, which will take you a good half hour, as you draw the final drawing, someone will then send you another one to do.

For someone who needs all their jobs to be done, for things to be neat and tidy and to have no unread e-mails in their inbox, this is a nightmare. It is a game that you will never finish. There will always be another drawing to guess or draw.

It’s so easy to become a slave to something isn’t it?

Whether it be facebook, twitter, an app, or some other social construct, we always end up becoming its slave. It seems to be built into our DNA. Maybe we just like something controlling us. Maybe it gives us a sense of purpose, an identity, something to be part of.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Paul was on to something wasn’t he?

What are we, or our young people enslaved by? What do we constantly need to feed?

Part of the joy of the season of Lent is to remind ourselves that we are not slaves anymore, that we have been set free.

What do you need to be set free of today?

Images of Christ in Photography

Jonny Baker has unearthed a series of provocative photos taken by duane michals in the 80’s focusing on the second coming of Christ. See them here

Lent: What are you gonna do?

So often, around this time, I hear the question “so what are you going to give up for lent?”

so here’s a different question. What are you going to do for Lent?

Maybe you could do something for the first time. Or do something more.

give more…

spend more time with…

share more with…

see more of…

be more of…

Let’s not make lent a thinly veiled disguise for losing weight or feeling better about yourself.  Instead make it at a time when you seize the day and be more like Jesus to those around us.

Stumble the Future

I stumbled across this website today that lets you send an e-mail to your email address in the future.

I immediately thought it was an interesting tool for youth work but then started to think what an interesting tool it was for anyone.

If I could send an e-mail to myself in 2037, what would I want to say? What would I want to remind myself of?

Setting aside the thought that e-mail probably will be long gone by then, what words of advice would I give?

Who knows what kind of person I will be or where I will find myself in 28 years time. I’ll be 54..I know that much. And that’s pretty scary.

At college on Thursday, a lecturer emphasised how important it is to remember the “grace moments” in your life. The times when you just knew something bigger was at work. Maybe it was God. Maybe it wasn’t but…it was something. Something bigger than you. You caught a glimpse of another world.

As a Christian, I think, it’s important to remember those “grace moments”.

When the doubts come. When you’re just not really sure anymore. When you feel lost.

Remember the times when God was with you. That’s what the Israelites did. God reminded them over and over again. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt. When they were lost. When their nation had been crushed and and they were taken as exiles to Babylon. God reminded them. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt.

We need those grace moments. We need to hold on to them. Remember when you felt God. When you heard him. Because sometimes that’s all we have. The memories. When science causes us to doubt. When we see oppression and poverty all around us. When we simply ask, “Why God?”. Those are the times when we need those grace moments. To get us through.

For the Jews, it was passover. For Christians it’s the Eucharist. Communion.

We remind ourselves when God showed up.

Maybe that’s what helped Jesus through his “lent” 2000 years ago. During those 40 days in the wildreness. When he was tired. Alone. Away from his family. Away from God.

Maybe he reminded himself of those grace moments. When he communed with the Father. With the Spirit.

We need those grace moments too.

Maybe that’s what I would e-mail myself. All the grace moments in my life. The times when  I came face to face with something much bigger than me.

So that I might continue on this journey. So that I might finish the race.

What are your grace moments?

And the walls came tumbling down

It’s only the start of the lent but I have still managed to break my promise. We had some family staying over during the weekend and I didn’t get a chance to get up early on Friday or Saturday to continue “my lent”. Hopefully that’s the last time it will happen.

Today, I was reading the account of the Fall of Jericho in Chapter 6 of Joshua. To be honest this is a passage that I struggle with. Maybe it’s because I didn’t live in that culture or I don’t fully understand what’s going on but in my western post modern mind I cannot understand why an entire city (men, women, children and animals) had to be slaughtered. There are many accounts like this in the Old Testament and I struggle with all of them.

What did these people do that was so bad that they deserved to be butchered? Most of us when we think of the holocaust are appauled that such an atrocity could take place but yet we, as Christians, accept this story of genocide. Im sure there are scholars out there who could tell me why it was justified but right now, I can’t find any reason.

There is a clear tension then inside of me when I read of these stories. Yes I can see the applicable lessons in this story:

God is faithful

Expect the unexpected with God

Trust God that he will do what he says he will do

but there is still the bitter aftertaste of genocide.

What then can I learn from this today?

To critically assess our faith. To not just accept things. To engage our brains when we read scripture.

I think we could all do with that.

Lent, chopped willies and holy ground

Today has been a good day.

I’ve been slowly working my way through the OT and I am now at Joshua. I got up, as planned, at 7am this morning to start Lent. To give up some sleep and spend some time with God.

Those that know me, know that I’m not generally one for spiritualising scripture but Joshua 5 spoke a lot to me this morning and I wanted to share some of those thoughts.

The Israelites renew their covenant with God by getting circumcised (just the men) as no one had been circumsised since they left Egypt and all the people that had been had now died.

YHWH then says to Joshua, “Today, I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt” (5:9). God has rolled away my shame. He has “cut off” my guilt, my inadequacy, my shame. The old is gone. Today is not yesterday. Today is today. A new day. A renewed covenant.

The flip side of that is that I have to choose to live in that reality. I have to realise that it has been rolled away. I could choose to still walk in that old way. Pretending that the foreskin (pardon my vulgarity) is still there.  Living under that shame and guilt.

But I don’t have to. God has rolled it away.

Later, Joshua comes face to face with “the commander of YHWH’s army” (5:15) and is told to take off his shoes as the ground is holy. Joshua is going through the same ritual that Moses went through. The batton has been passed to him. Only when the covenant was renewed (by circumcision) was Joshua able to see this. The ground was always holy. But that only happened when Joshua committed himself back to God. We can walk around unaware that the ground is holy. We can miss the presense of God every day. I know have. Many, many times. But when we re-connect. When we renew that covenant. God will open our eyes.

That’s what he’s done for me today.  I have taken lent as a rededication to God and God has shown up. He has revealed that the ground is holy.

Roll on tomorrow.

Lent

I’ve never bothered with lent.  Never saw the point of it. I guess I focused too much on the legalistic side of ‘giving something up’. Most of the people I knew who took part chose to cut out food of some kind (and that was really just an excuse to go on a diet without saying, “i’m going on a diet”.

But you know what, I’m starting to change my mind. I’m seeing the possibilities of it. A time of re-dedication. Re-focus.

So every morning, I’m going to get up and spend some time with God. I don’t know what that will look like or what will be involved, but I’m going to do it.

And each night, I’ll try and blog about it. Let you know what went on. What I thought about. Hopefully it will inspire me. Maybe it will inspire you…

Maybe, that’s the point of Lent.