Wednesday, 14 September 2011

texting one chronicles

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Wondering about those listed here whose stories we don't know, the 12 tribes of Ishmael and all the other branches of the you ever think about how everyone was a baby once? How were these unknown parents and their children? Would we engage people differently if we held their family histories at the front rather than the back of our minds? Maybe I should tell my story more and better.

1Ch3-4 Just to recap for those at the back, we are to go forth, we are to multiply. Begotten begetters are we, lest we forget to beget, lets be getting begetting. Because this chronology is the stream of the good life, and because Christians are (re)born not made, and because one cannot give what one does not have, the onus is on us, who have, to spend ourselves praying life, speaking life, leaving a legacy. This against every modern hero myth of the self-made orphan superman, this against the hope that London's children might be saved by education, this against the popularly legitimised ingratitude of adolescent angst. Oh the debt I owe to God who sovereignly wrote me in. Oh the debt I owe to all who collaborated with him for the sake of my faith.

1Ch5-6 Reuben and folly and shame and its ripples through generations, revisiting the question of whether we live as though our children were watching. Lines of Levites - how do we apply cultural difference and how do we apply theological difference to understanding handed-down vocations? What does it mean to be a missionary kid, or a child of the manse, other than as labels to hide behind sometimes? 5v20 to go to sleep in & wake up in:trust, prayer, answer, victory. Trust. Prayer. Answer. Victory.

1Ch7-8 Namers naming namers naming. Other things than biology going on in these cascading chains of inheritance. 'Philip Arthur' a mere signifier, a steering influence, a prophetic calling? Picturing that each of these Israelites was a baby butternut once, a helpless miniature, and their name was the first man-made mark made upon the blank canvas of their being. I am a Jackson of a Jackson, inheritor to all that was Jackson before me, but I am also a Philip son of a Nick, torchbearer of all the love, hope and prophecy that 'Philip' had invested in its meaning from my namers. .. Renaming, adoption, lineage. Peters and Pauls, as the reborn Simons and Sauls, are reborn into and unto a new set of hopes, associations and promises. Just as we are dual citizens of Britain and of heaven, so too are we of dual genealogies. Let us seek a redemptive renaming for those who have been hurt by a mislabelling world.

1Ch9-10 Returned from captivity, how do we then live? Pausing to thank God in a weekend's grateful overflow, thank you God that you bring us out of captive places, thank you that you are more than enough. What does Jerusalem look like once we've been through captive Babylon & out the other side? How is Jerusalem different to Babylon, what are its buildings & systems & structures like? We, who are the returned captives, Jerusalem-dwellers, how do we shape this city? Guarding our gates against what? Injustice, unmercy.. Checking supplies for a worshipful way. Making cakes. Making music. Sliding from lists to narrative between 9 and 10 a reminder of the messy way, captured by storytelling than facts and figures, that our lives play out & God among us in them.

1Ch11-12 David brought unity and prosperity and v40 joy. Importantly, if we are to seek the same, he had 'Help' v 1 17 18 19 21 22. What is help? An asymmetric collaboration, a gift transaction, a service rendered to a weaker/lacking party, an act mutually beneficial only in so far as it is more blessed to give? And David's helpers are numerous v22, expert v8 and come with full intent and single mind v38. Does this advance our understanding of Adam's helper? Does this advance our understanding of the Holy Spirit? Our understanding of help relies on a vision of a hopeful, helpfilled, peacepeacepeacefilled future v18, towards which we help one another, and it relies on a knowledge that God is the source of all help, a grace for which we are but conduits.

1Ch13-14 An invitation to join together in the promised land. The ark of God at the centre for surely he is worthy and made it happen. Poor uzzah! Just helping God not to fall off while in transit. God needs no help, is holy and wholly dangerous. Death comes to those who enter his presence with sin. In Jesus our sin is covered but death must still come now and later to all that cannot exist in the hold of holies. Sovereign is God. Incredible blessing for those he dwell with like Obed-Edom. Victory in his time and way. And so today, mindful of Uzzah's sin now covered by grace we are temples for God's glory in seeking his will not our own and whether we are to go out to battle or circle around revealing the might of our God that all may know.

1Chr15-16 In praise of thankfulness. The secret of a happy life is a thankful life: the crucial calibration of our satisfaction by celebration first. The secret of a thankful life is a life meditated on God's Godness: his v9 creating works and all that even a deist might know him by, his v22 saving works and all that is present tense continuously interactive, his v34 faithful character and the privilege of Knowing that he is this and not that. Now praise him because he can be known. Now praise him because knowing him is joy. Now praise him because that joy is always strengthening. And in that strength's overflow, Praise Him: dress Up 15v27, speak Up 15v16, eat Up 16v3. From your 16v8a Up go v8b In and from your In go v8c Out. This is the three cylinder motor of the good life. Ec-static with joy today friends.

1 Chr17-18 The front to back reading with stories re-told makes this like a flashback scene in a film, the promise to David remembered in the knowledge of the reality that the promise has prevailed, has survived human faithlessness throughout generations. & so again the value of promises remembered. What does God promise? Here v7 direction v8 intimacy, fame, v9-10 settledness, liberation, victory, v11 legacy, v12 future hope, v13 faithfulness. Not sure what to think about fame, does God promise fame and what kind? Better words: witness, influence (?) David's is v16 humility & v25 courage. So today, humility & courage, because there is a God.

1Chr 19-20 A Bathshebaless chronicle, here the more hagiographic with distance? These rerecountings serve in some small way as stereo-speakers, 3d goggles, locating by differential reading a sort of triangulated nuance? Or at least they double underline themes, messianic kingship themes, which had seemed important during the evolution of God's people in the time between the writing of the two accounts. How do we understand ourselves in the (Parisian Midnight) light of our heroes? There is a time for celebrating, say Muller's, fruit; there's also a time for remembering his flaws. .. 19v13 Be strong. Be strong generally, be strong in your collaborations, be strong for the sake of God's people, be strong for the sake of God's city, London. .. The Ammonite king wore a 34kg crown. Be strong for that inheritance.

1Chr21-22 Thinking this morn on how we are apt to try to pin down or contain the infinite God in a finite text, & then this on the sin of enumerating. To try to quantify can be a great idolatry, an attempt at control, a refusal to let God be God, in all God's infinite unquantifiable glory. Let us be swept away, let us open up our hands, rather than trying to count. 22 there is a new story here in David's charge to Solomon to build the temple, told here that David shared Nathan's word with Solomon & provided resources. Eph3v10 God has provided in advance good works for us to do, we stand in need of this reminder on entering new seasons. Resources, people & vision have been prepared in advance. v19 a call to worship, felt a call to remember my Rev2v4 first love, drawn back to the temple this morn.

1Chr23-24 David organised. Structures serve to get the best out of Prophets, Priests and Kings. Structures are an investment by us towards a good Godly inheritance for our temple-building offspring. Ruskin: “When we build, let us think that we build forever.” (if I may blur my building/being metaphors without the obvious idolatry of the now) 23v13 Forever, we are to bless God's name forever, and always. 24v7 If we are called to be 24/7 watchmen in the house of the Lord, if into perpetuity we are perpetually to be ready to give a blessing, always ready to give an answer, always rejoicing, with the poor we will always have, then, at each scale of our existence, let us gather, let us draw lots, let us be ambitious on a temple scale, towards an individualist's impossibility.

1Chr25-26 Struck by the references to both expertise & ability (25v7, 26v7, 8, 14, 32) & the blind drawing of lots. There is a time for everything, a time to let the experts loose to do excellently that which they are God-gifted at, & a time to indiscriminately place ourselves alongside each other to offer & be offered the same. When is which? An important question – when we get it wrong there can be pain & frustration in both directions. Wisdom is a day-to-day discernment, in our music, watchfulness &administration. Also enjoying the image of Herman's von Trapps.
1Chr27-28 v24 We've visited before this wrath for counting, a little baffling given these history/pentat books' preoccupation with Numbers. Perhaps a caution against scale? Against the necessary will-to-power of macro-accountancy. Life and population policy decisions increase in presumption exponentially for the wider area they presume over? 28v3 shedding blood and house building's disqualification. Can we explain 20th century architecture by this maxim? The 20th being the unprecedented century of war? v19 Lit. hand-writ thinks the ESVSB. What script picture we of this note and other trains of imaginings.. And finally v20-21 be thus commissioned this Wednesday. And publicly. Be thus undismayed. For the Lord God even my God is with thee.

1Chr29 I am young & lack experience, & the work to be done is tremendous, but the provision is there, let us hope. Let us join in with David, God you are to be praised forever, you are great and powerful, glorious, splendid & majestic. Everything comes from God. Everything. God the cause, source, author & giver. All money spent should be a gift back to God, so all money, time, talents & resources spent should glorify God, a weighty challenge. Then a Heideggerian David, we pass through life like strangers & exiles, life is strange & mysterious, painful & confusing & alienating. Foreigners in a familiar place, so often. Yet here is this God to worship, this mystery all powerful glorious & majestic. And so. From your place of confusion seek generosity, integrity, honesty, sincerity, a wholehearted desire to obey God. God, God, please be found.

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