#markMark 12:35-44

In Summary
…God hates all your show! Your pretentious prayers, your ostentatious offerings, your religious robes, and your (honestly) hell-bound hypocrisy! The question isn’t how much God wants you to tithe — the challenge is to surrender everything completely to God.

And yet for all of the sins of the religious, it’s still worth studying the Scriptures — and even aggressively wrestling over what it means! — because it’s in Scripture that we encounter the reality of who Jesus is. And it’s only Jesus that can bring revival & reformation to our widow-wounding worldviews.

Passage: Mark 12:35-44

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Present: Peter & Taryn + Isaac; Ryan; Linda + Adam; Sam; Angela + Alex + Jed
Eating: Baked Fish w/ Cheese & Mustard Topping, New Potatoes, Green Beans; Banoffee Pie

People:
– the teachers of the law
– Jesus
– ‘the Christ’
– ‘the Son of David’
– David himself
– the Holy Spirit
– the Lord
– ‘my [ie. David’s] Lord’
– ‘your [ie. David’s] enemies’
– the large crowd
– widows
– ‘such men’ [whose religion is ‘for a show’]

– the crowd giving money
– many rich people
– a poor widow
– disciples

Places:
– the temple courts
– ‘the place where the offerings were put’ = ‘the temple treasury’
[these are the two main stages where the action takes place in this passage, but the following are also locations that are mentioned, and whose significance might be worth meditating upon]
– ‘at my [ie. the Lord’s] right hand’
– ‘under your [ie. David’s] feet’
– ‘in the market-places’
– ‘in the synagogues’
– ‘the places of honour at banquets’
– ‘widows’ houses’

Actions:
teaching, asked, say, speaking, declared, said, calls, listened, taught [lots of talking words]
sit, put, watch out, walk around, be greeted, devour, make lengthy prayers, be punished, sat down, watched, putting money, threw in large amounts, came, put in, calling, tell, put, gave, put, live

Repetitions:
– ‘Put [money]’ x4 + ‘put [enemies under Christ’s feet]’
– widows + ‘a poor widow’ x2
– ‘most [important seats] + ‘most [severely punished]’
financial terminology: ‘money’, treasury x2, ‘copper coins’ (lepta), ‘penny’ (kodrantes), poor x2 + poverty, rich + ‘large amounts’ + wealth

Questions & Comments

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On that subject…

– Ron Sider’s book Rich Christians In An Age of Hunger explores the issue of wealth and responsibility — in a way that not everyone agrees with!

– In particular, John Schneider’s The Good of Affluence argues the opposite side. Interestingly, given our discussion yesterday, he even explicitly remarks that “while I do not accept the major wealth-negative premise of ‘radical Christianity’, as it is often called, I do not wish my approach to be confused with that of the ‘Prosperity Gospel’, either.”

Jon Foreman‘s song ‘I Hate All Your Show’ sums up God’s feelings on religious hypocrisy rather well in his paraphrase of Amos 5.

#LoveCambridge Mission Week

LoveCambridgeWorship

Spent this last week involved with the #LoveCambridge Mission Week. Also taking part were the members of the Revival DTS team (a couple of whom were still arriving as the week progressed), the DTS outreach team from Australia’s YWAM Newcastle (though just because they’ve done their DTS lecture phase in Australia, it doesn’t mean that the team members are all from Australia!), and the NYK youth group from Carlisle. So about forty of us in total.

Each day started with worship, teaching — on faith, freedom from fear, living in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and the call to mission — and practical training on how to do the work of an evangelist. Then in the afternoons everyone went out into Cambridge to share the simple message of Jesus with the people that they met. And they returned with testimonies of people having heard the gospel and responded in faith!

A big thank-you to Arbury Road Baptist Church for letting us use their building, and to all the people who came from far afield to be part of the week.

The_Body_of_the_Dead_Christ_in_the_Tomb,_and_a_detail,_by_Hans_Holbein_the_Younger

Poem for Easter Saturday

He’s on the shore: the ship has sailed.
His cheerful cheeks have whitened, paled.
All of his hopes and dreams have failed,
upon ambition’s spear impaled.

His mind is full of ‘WHAT?‘s and ‘WHY?‘s
— he lifts his face towards the skies
and as the tears flood through his eyes
he crumples to the floor and cries.

He bares his teeth, opens his mouth,
breathes in to fill his lungs and shout
— but when he tries no words come out.
His faith is shattered, even doubt

has left upon the midnight train
and all that’s left inside his brain’s
the numb and certain sound of pain
which whispers loud ‘To die is gain’.

The hope within his heart has died.
He contemplated suicide
yet even Death was not obliged
to let his suff’ring be denied.

(But when it feels like God is dead
then resurrection lies ahead.
Yes, though it feels like God is dead,
still resurrection lies ahead.)

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This poem was inspired by coming across the above painting of The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb. (It had been tweeted by @LincolnHarvey).

What If?

jesus-for-pm

What if we realised that what Jesus meant
was not for our lives to merely be LENT
to God for a limited number of days?
— but surrendered completely to follow his ways!

What if the call to take up your cross
Was not just nonsensical religious dross
But a life-changing YES — that makes Jesus the boss
Of your life! — to obey him whatever the cost?

What if the message of Easter was not
‘Hard Work & Niceness’ (political rot!)
But that without Jesus nobody has got
A half-hope of heaven, be they nice or not!