Tuesday, 25 December 2012

texting matthew eight

We used to wait for our heavy storms to take us away. But now. 077290564

Mt8v1-2 As Jesus teaches us to pray, we should? Might? Can? Pray this way.. Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean. What are you willing? How do we pray bold, measurable, hedonistic prayers, with a submission, humility & seeking? Please, Jesus, show me how to do this, I need to know. What do you will? Thinking about connecting with praying-for-a-husband & this thing we're meditating on esp. in this season of serving single friends in how-to-pray for this great ache.

Mt8v3-4 Touched him. “Touch it. / Shove that thing in my face and them fangs are going up in your tits. Move it from me. Grow up. Could be diseased, you get me? I don't want no chlamydia..” If you have seen Attack the Block, you will know that the concept of 'unclean' is alive and kicking today in south London. Jesus touched him. Jesus touched him. This Kingdom is attended by a haptic tactile mode of love. The ministry of laying on hands wars against all petty quarantines, all demographic exclusion, all modernist preciousness about isolated platonic solids, all Islamic devotion to hygienic hands, all Foucaultian heterotopias, lock hospitals, panopticons. Jesus touched him. Jesus is the white handkerchief that, when dropped in the ditch, far from becoming polluted, rather turns the ditch clean. The goodness of God at the centre of the universe is an active force. He is there and he is not silent, not passive, not static. Jesus touched him.

Mt8v5-6 Modes of prayer continued: appeal, in the form of presenting the facts to Jesus, with compassionate implication. There is not 'please can you..' here, but it is prayer, no? Let us not overcomplicate prayer in this specific time of seeking how to pray. It is right and good to come as children, sometimes with a simple 'it hurts'. Prayer is the simplest thing as well as the deepest. We appeal, Lord, our friend R is broken-hearted and suffering terribly.

Mt8v7-8 'I will come..' Jesus dignifies Place in expressing this, as in Advent, God with us, within us, among us, along side us, in the city and country, present to the paralysed, the locked out, the locked up, the voiceless, the unclean, the outsiders, the weak, the heartbroken.. God wills to come to you. .. 'not.. under my roof' This is Dn3v18's but-if-not expression of faith applied to space and Place. The profitability and efficacy of prayer are not dependent on location, performance, experiential manifestations, length of pilgrimage, proximity to historical nodes of so-called spiritual significance, if God is come and coming and willing to move in power, and even more so if his all-present word already fills all things. This is Wimber's being naturally supernatural, all places have the potential to be sacred spaces, even rendered so at a distance by prayer and text messages? Only. Say. The. Word.

Mt8v9-10 The authority of Jesus. Reading today about the Lacanian account of authority,which comes with the-name-of-the-father, this point of influence & law-making to which we are subject, the infant's discovery that she is not omnipotent, there is a causal power at work which must be accepted. To refuse this authority is to cling to paranoia, delusion, structuring the mind towards psychosis. To refuse Jesus' authority is spiritual psychosis. This authority comes as a threat & a relief. Surrender. Authority is not neutral or peripheral, the way we respond determines the form as well as the content of our minds. Our relationship to authority structures our minds. Our relationship to authority structures our subjectivity. See: Jesus is the name-of-the-father.

Mt8v11-12 is Lm4v6 Mt10v15. Tenses. 'will be..will be' When? What contiguity, what trajectory now-to-not-yet, and what of semiotics and the meaning of 'hell' now, what of consequences, what of the gates to hell then? You weep and I'll gnash teeth, in our now and not-yet of non-faith not seeking to Rv22v4 see his face now, in not praying the healing of paralysed friends now. .. There is a darkness acute to the children of the kingdom, sons of Christian parents, who are uniquely able to hold tenets of the gospel in contempt by familiarity, that is, by generations, but for a miracle, our grasp of the gospel degenerates from believing, to assuming, to rejecting. Throwing the baby of this Advent out with the bathwater of church pain. .. Pacifists note, the Jesus who ate with prostitutes, hung with centurions also, commending with these scarily strong words the soldier's essentially military understanding of authority.

Mt8v13-14 'go home'.. 'Jesus went to Peter's home'. Jesus did not have contempt for the home, even when he Mt19v29 asks us to leave home, he presupposes its necessity & value. Home is where we start from. Home is where we first meet v14 brokenness, & home is v13 where we can first witness the miraculous. In this way people get swept up in this Jesus mystery. Please, God, unabstractly, we want this for our home, we want this for our children, show us how.

Mt8v15-16 v3 He touched him v15 he touched her.. Jesus' hands-on haptic tactile mode of ministry bears reiteration. We're embodied to embody Kingdom intersubjectivity bodily. So free hugs, so the holding of holding&containing, so the limits of mediated ministry. While we are not saved by phenomenology, we see Jesus saves phenomenologically. Loving thus is no mere touching metaphor. .. Interesting the knock-on: '..to serve him.': my present feverlessness is purposed for such service, all of life is a gift of opportunity to serve in grateful overflow. Who are the 'they' of '..they brought to him many..': am I, do I? So this season of prayerfulness should seek *rightly motivated* to bring *many* sick to him in prayer. .. '..with a word.': for all I fear about technique and vocabulary, this is freeing, for surely if healing power can be reduced to one sufficient word, it cannot be other than 'Jesus' and I know him.

Mt8v17-18 Jesus heals for healing's sake & to fulfil prophecy. Ends in themselves & means to an end. I am quick to universally make these mutually exclusive, as often they are, but not always. There is a pointing-to-something-more which does not use people to make a point. This is no the utility which, taken to its logical conclusion, becomes empty & meaningless. There is a pointing-to which fills the depth of a for-its-own-sake & overflows to coherence or prophecy or narrative, which adds-to & multiplies, rather than reduces. Pray that Christ would make me wise, would break down my own resistances to stories-to-tell, for this reason.

Mt8v19-20 (1) The limits of Christian hospitality (2) The limits of Christian homelessness. (1) By contrast to my house's efforts to engender authentic discipleship by hospitality, Jesus challenges the authenticity of this scribes discipleship by inhospitality. I am not just playing with words, this is the rice-Christian dilemma, again. Healing may come by home comforts, but authentic individuation and your faith's coming-of-age necessarily come from the homeless wilderness. If we are not to perpetuate perpetually enwombed Christians by our offering home, should our come-and-see hospitality Ps34v8 now also be offered with a go-and-die inhospitality Lk9v23? (2) If you evoke this verse as a broadside against Driscoll's advocacy of home-ownership, you war against all architecture. Jesus was a couchsurfer Mt10v11 but only because there were people first choosing to give a hint of Jn14v2's sign signified.

Mt8v21-22 Let me just, Lord. Let me just finish this thought, habit, way of life, this middle class comfort. Let me stay with this death a little longer. But don't really, Lord, don't let me stay here, allow me to become distasteful to myself where I am become this way.. This is the mandate that permeates all our conversations about community & counterculture for the next season: 'follow me follow me follow me' .. Let this surrender be your highest.

Mt8v23-24 Jesus slept. And this was no Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht. Jesus slept (in heavenly peace). Sleeping, like sabbathing, is an act of faith in the sovereignty of God. Jesus slept (like a Calvinist). This is a word to me, as Octavia Hill's life is teaching me: Christians concerned for the state of housing in London beware, she burnt out and had to take three years away to sleep it off. Jesus slept (when there was work to be done). God gives sleep to the ones He loves Ps127v2. Jesus slept (belovedly). Picture Philippe Petit laid down on his wire, so Jesus is so staggeringly bold, daring naps in the maelstrom of ministry, being in the face of death, as the god of the air huffs and puffs, on the brink of the void, in a tiny vessel, sailing close to the wind, in all maritime analogies, against the terrors of the night, beyond the chemistry of insomnia, regardless the discomfort of a wooden berth. Jesus slept.

Mt8v25-26 Hard words Jesus says, he says them to me, as I shake him awake. Why are you so afraid? Why do you have so little faith? & yet Jesus is not being unkind. A knowingness to the words, perhaps. There is reason to be afraid, because the waves are big and the boat is small, I know. Yet. The deep-down smiling-in-your-belly come-what-may of knowing Jesus, this is the ground of every angelic don't-be-afraid. This essay anxiety planning woe will melt away before the joy of the holiness beheld in Christ. It is a kind of laughter, that undoes this anxiety. Jesus gently mocks us, because we are His beloved, and He has us. Also that he would say...I'm glad you woke me up, dear hearts, although you are faithless and foolish, I'm glad you woke me up, that I can expose myself to you. Here I am, I'm glad you woke me up.

Mt8v27-28 v27 Jesus has total authority over the chaotic, violent and apparently impersonal, science of meteorology (but what does it mean for a storm cloud to hear and respond to a command, do those electrons have ears?!) v28-34 Jesus has total authority over the chaotic, violent and more apparently personal enemies manifest in the realm of demons. What are demons? When do you invoke 'demon'? There is a 1Cor12v10 gap in my spiritual experience, discernment and vocabulary, and I would love my handful of textees to help me. It is too easy to define one's theology of demons against a hyperventilating pentecostalism and so settle for a naive naturalising of 'demonic' to mere metaphor for misfortune or mental health issues. If there is an active personal occult evil at work in the world, where are the limits of our diagnosing the demonic? And how can I helpfully engage this understanding? I say this as there are architectures which resemble the Gadarene demoniac: in being unclothed Lk8v27, preoccupied with tombs by dead architects, the shells of former life Mt8v28 (8v22) (Mt23v29), philosophically unshackled in the deconstruction of all law Mk5v4, self-harming in sociological injustices and in stylistically violent or wounded ways Mk5v5. So syllogistically demonic architecture? How might one exorcise such? .. Here we are, the darkest day of the year, the morning after the end of the world. These questions are slightly semantic, because ultimately Jesus, in these verses, demonstrates himself to be sovereign over the whole spectrum of fearful forces, literal, analogical, natural, supernatural, personal, apparently-impersonal, which seek to keep us from wholeness and progress in the gospel Ph1v12. He has us.

Mt8v29-30 'In every moment slumbers the possibility of being the eschatological moment. You must awaken it.' Bultmann, a fave. Jesus comes ahead of time, he sets the order & timetable for the universe, then violates both. Jesus is always breaking his own rules, a caution to both our arrogance & our apathy, our timidity & tamed temporality. He engages demons ahead of time, he heals & restores ahead of time.

Mt8v31-32 'A horrible conviction darted through Oak. With a sensation of bodily faintness he advanced: at one point the rails were broken through and there he saw the footprints of his ewes. Oak looked over the precipice. The ewes lay dead and dying at its foot - a heap of two hundred mangled carcasses.. .."Thank God I am not married: what would she have done in the poverty now coming upon me"' quoting Hardy to conjure a tragedy, cliff-related, albeit of a very different cause, so to consider the cost of exorcising idols, demons and unclean entanglements. .. Also struck by the character of demons: parasitic, possessive, dependent, desperately clinging consumingly to the real. .. Also struck by the implications of this power encounter: if evil is personal, it can be cast out, and it can be sent to die. You can be free, I can be free, in Jesus' name.

Mt8v33-34 You will hear stories told of this Christmas child, they should be terrifying, they should make part of us flinch, the impulse to beg him to leave as we Is9v2 have seen a great light, our darkness (1) does not Jn1v5 does not understand, nor v10 recognise him, (Doctor Who?) &so we beg him to leave, fearing the unknown, & (2) our darkness Jn3v19-20 hates the light, we hate the Christ child, who exposes us. But. The light overcomes the darkness. Rejoice!

Monday, 24 December 2012

found flowers: 030

 we skip you a merry christmas

img: via EW - thanks!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Monday, 3 December 2012

found flowers: 027

 wrought reached for the unreached

Saturday, 1 December 2012

texting matthew seven

All the small things. 07729056452

Mt7v1-2 Hard to judge. The English language seems to carry exactly the difficulty of the practice of not-judgment within the range of the word itself: being judgmental vs displaying a lack of judgment; judicious use vs being prejudicial. A timely verse for the end of this season in journalism: have I learnt to not-judge well? When does art criticism become the export of a critical spirit? Where is the border of scoffing crossed? Perhaps these are the wrong questions. The 'judge-not' cri du couer of the individualist hopes in an I-am-an-island nothing-touches-me mode of immunity from judgment which is a hope for mere tolerance. And no one wants Darcy to speak a 'tolerable' over them. Let our art criticism be all Ph4v8, as, to 'judge' here is to speak the biggest ultimate reality over an individual, who is always one 'fearfully and wonderfully made' Ps139v14, 'very good' Gn1v31.. The scale of their flaws are as gnats to camels.

Mt7v3-4 It is brokenness that keeps us focussed on the other's speck & blind to our own log. A defence mechanism. A superiority complex, perhaps masking an inferiority complex. Such a defence locates a problem either inside or outside, denying the complexity and relationality of sin...perhaps to learn & remember that grace tells us that this is not so, grace never runs just inwards or outwards, but rather it expands, it spreads, it covers, it evacuates. Grace is like a tree, not a monetary exchange...Sometimes we fixate on the other's speck because, to stay with the sight metaphor, we are so afraid of how-we-are-seen by them, not trusting Christ for our identity but investing in our seen-ness for in that even a small distortion becomes overwhelming to a sense of who WE are. This takes up all our energy so that we stop caring about & evaluating how-we-see, where we are belogged, where we look at the world & the other in distorted & unjust ways... Logs & specks though, they can be removed, they can be righted, thank God. Jesus we pray for clear vision this day.

Mt7v5-6 Our aim for everyone is that they might gain an Mt13v44 'in his joy..' which comes of encountering the (pearl of the) kingdom (Mt13v46). How? How do you get your friends from spiritual planet tharg to an encounter with this pearl without their trampling it v6? Working backwards. If not pearls, what then? Crumbs for dogs Mt7v28? Perhaps milk before solid food 1Pt2v2 1Co3v2 Hb5v12. Pointedly Hb5v11 contrasts 'dull of hearing' milk-drinkers with Hb5v14 your 'trained powers of discernment' – we train so to see/discern incremental modes of appropriate nurture for them. So planks and v5's 'seeing': evangelism is dialogical with an emphasis on you listening, hearing, looking, discerning, truly seeing what it is that they need. An apply-your-own-oxygen-mask-first chronology, but also a recognition that private sin and hypocrisy impede your sight by affecting your sense of sin's scale: mote-beam, gnat-camel..

Mt7v7-8 So asking seeing & knocking for healing, joining in that prayer, because this came several times at the weekend, you shoul ask God, you should keep asking God, because I want the life and the change, because I want the stories to tell. Praying for healing of hearts, minds & bodies, my own & yours & theirs, the loved ones & the strangers, specific seasonal needs & underlying aches & terminal threats ask seek know, don't give up.. God rush upon us. 

Mt7v9-10 O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear.. Why don't I pray more? At what cost? In this season more than ever we are too busy to *not* pray. Apt that this should follow MetTab wisdom on Jm4 this Sunday: not praying for things we want will necessarily lead to wanting things wrongly, worldlily, anaccountably, anxiously. .. Against my conservative/cessationist/inferiority-complex/British Keep-Calm-And-Carry-On tendancy to stoicly not-pray, Jesus here risks a prosperity gospel, but even that would helpfully challenge my understanding of the generosity of God's character, the goodness of the universe's materiality, and the efficacy of prayer. .. To make his point, Jesus uses objects which appear good at first, that on closer inspection, at the moment of need, turn out to be worthless and poisonous. But we pray to defy the claim that our loaf-looking faith is a dead-weight.

Mt7v11 I remember D, who likes to go to churches to start arguments, said that human beings are this extraordinary thing, that even the otherwise indifferent businessman rings for an ambulance if someone has a heart attack in front of him. The animals don't do that. Our capacity to be moved & to reach out is a beauty, a glory. & that glimpse of glory is God's, multiplied a million times in His reaching out to us. Ask. God aches to reach out.

Mt7v12 Way less straightforward than it may first look, 'cause others are other, & doing unto others as you would wish to be done unto thus does not mean literally doing to them things you like for yourself. They like different things, they need different things,they express truth beauty & goodness in different ways, they have different primary love languages. SO the golden rule invites us into dialogue & discovery, only here can we honour humanity.

Mt7v13-14 In Kingdom topology there is a discontinuity, a dividing partition, a not-open-plan eschatology, there is a threshold, there is a gate, and at all moments there is a not-yet into which we step into from this present now? My fear about erasing hell is that it not only undermines justice, but is addles time and a sense of eternity? What it takes from the emphatic motive force to urgently v12 do-for-others-as-yourself, a hell-less theology doesn't replace with any stronger myth structure? The moral consequentialism of Super Size Me and the wide gate to heart disease is all we are left with? If there is no final gate, even if 'final' is only in the sense of visible horizon, how does this render all intervening gates, choices and freedoms? And why does Jesus use this language? And by what 'fruit' are the 'trees' of these theologies of interpretting destruction to be assessed? How is my fertility and flavour?

Mt7v15-16 Grateful for T's word that a lack of fruit can often be traced to one's own lack of right attitude to & before God. To believe that God is so real, to acknowledge one's own falseness, false prophecy & wolfishness. Remind me, God, & show me new ways this is true. Right me, in all ways, because you are real, because it matters.

Mt7v17-18 If ever there was a picture of the natural overflow of the essence of an organism, fruit is it. Trees can't plan a marketing campaign, they can't exam cram, there's no voting amongst the leaves, can't hire substitutes, there's no mental striving in this fruitfulnes, they cannot but make like a tree. but. There are preconditions to fruitfulness ps1v3 being planted by living water, Mt13v8 in good soil, from good seed. Are you? Am I? Not naturally, we ate bad fruit from a bad tree and put bad seed into a heart of stone, and accordingly death reigned in us from Adam and how can a tree change its nature? 1Cor15v22 It can. And this makes Mt7v18 awesome. 'We are the firstfruits..' 'We are the light of the world..' 'He who began a good work in you will complete it..' 'He will give you the desires of your heart..' Ridiculous. Now, 'You are a good tree, you cannot bear bad fruit!' .. Love God, do what you want.

Mt7v19-20 What is this thing masking? These different contrasts between inner & outer, the move from v15 an inability to distinguish between a sheep-in-wolf's-clothing & a sheep, towards a v20 recognition of what is inside from the outside, the fruit. Prayers for uncloudy minds, for wisdom & revelation for this inner, more buried, more hidden. Unmask me. Repent receive rebuke replace, yes. v19, cut it down & burn it, oh God.

Mt7v21-22 What is the secret to defeating my terrifying ability to simulate faith, to imitate Christianity, even to manufacture mighty works in my own strength? First, what is the incentive to such self-deception? What is its reward? (1) There is an externally rewarded false-disciplehood: people-pleasing, motivated by the praise of man in rice-christian rituals of performing to Richborne Terrace's tenancy agreement. So, nip that in the bud and ensure that certain faith practices are ninja. For the sake of your own soul find ways to meet God in a secret secret place, don't close your curtains for your quiet time, go underground and leave no trace. (2) Is there also an entirely internal force for self-deception, so to avoid the reality of total-christianity and a holy God, I try to construct categories of 'semi-christian' as if it were valid to be half-married or half-pregnant.. Christianity is not a pick-n-mix moral code, nor merely a subjectively dependent experience of temperamental warm fuzzies, Christianity is not a static state, the image of a thing, a retrospectively projected veneer. Christianity is deeply and actively the difference between 'I never knew you' and Jn21v17 'you know that I love you' Know and Love, be Known and Beloved.

Mt7v23-24 Imagining what is would be like to hear Jesus say 'I never knew you'. Where would I go, what would I do? I have nothing outside of Jesus, all would be ashes in the mouth. Perhaps this could be a reminder of Christ's reality here & now, the immediacy, the seriousness of this God-relationship. & the relationship is constituted in prayer? To be known is 'to do what God wants you to do' – so it is active, but it is personal, not generic Christian things learned from a sermon. What does God want YOU to do, what is your specific calling to Kingdom inbreaking? So you have to hear God, the v24 wise woman hears & obeys. To hear is to be in prayer. So we must pray, if we are to be Jesus people.

Mt7v25-26 We cannot say what God is, except he is what he is, he is that he is: yahweh, is-ness itself. But we are given permission and precedent to say God-is-like. So smilies and metaphors are given to us and should be guarded, studiously interrogated, and reinforced. Everytime we build we have the opportunity to display God, that is, to revisit and refresh some God-is-like's for a new generation, every architectural moment is pregnant with the chance to live allusively conspicuously. At the risk of exhausting the analogy, three possible applications: 1. Sands of Galilee and site context: houses which wisely engage their context display an understanding of a universe whose God is not generic but personal, local and concerned for the specifics. Micro-climate engagement is a theological statement. 2. Owner occupier: Houses which are built owned and occupied by the one risk-taker display the risk of faith in a way that speculative housing will struggle to embody. 3. Found foundations and a display of the rock: Not everyone knows what is beneath the surface, but Christianity is concerned with the heart, which is beneath the surface, and we delight to show its working. This is less the Pompidou fetishisation of innards, but rather the joy of making legible that replicable testimony of the God who holds your house up. Ps127v1 + Rm10v14

Mt7v27-28 Without any self-important words, we pray because we v27 desperately literally need Jesus, or we will fail, fall & die. Let this teetering-on-edge be real to our minds, so that we practice the desperate need we have at all times, we know that the one who grounds us & makes kingdom come is not ourselves. & we pray to this astonishing Jesus, mysterious Christ, who cuts to the heart. Change what we have been, with wonder.

Mt7v29 Scribe here is pejorative. Scribes waste breath, mince words, split hairs and play language games. I waste breath, mince words, split hairs and play language games when I text unanchored from that bedrock of faith and epistemology who is God. You know.. Anchoring language requires an unbroken chain to an immovable object. Prayer is that chain, so make it constant. .. Authority. Jesus sends us out in that authority. Mt28v18, the centurion's faith is an understanding of authority. Mt8v9 The answer to 'what is church?' needs to deal with authority delegated and its abuses, growing in our prayer life will require a better grasping of a theology of our authority. You know..

found flowers: 026

lily Livers

found flowers: 025


img: Dana

found flowers: 024

hide-rangea and seek

img: Dana

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

texting matthew six

Secrets secreted. 07729056452.

Mt6v1-2 This funny tragic human quirk, always trying to view ourselves from the outside, facebook and fantasy, if it isn't seen it didn't happen. This the root of much sin, a constant battle to be in the here and now, because of the fear that it isn't real, it isn't valid, unless it has been recorded and represented. So our subjectivity always turned into a static being-in-itself, where God cannot be heard. Time to keep some holy secrets.

Mt6v3-4 I have two extensions from this that are not strictly in the text, if you have verses for these let me know. (1) Giving is not only good, but should be exciting. There is a real skill to giving without getting caught, more so even than stealing because in a gift you necessarily leave evidence. Are you excited by this? These verses are so much more than mere advice against hypocrisy, Jesus wants you to be a ninja-giver, these are your black ops, premeditated acts of stealth kindness. This is the sound of the underground, the whisper of history in the making. .. (2) By faith Hb11v1, we imitate an unseen God Col1v15, hidden for long ages Rm16v25. Why does God hide himself? Insofar as the universe is anonymously authored we are freed from the debt of indentured reciprocation, in this way the King woos us in our free will? God forces no one to credit him. And people think I'm bonkers, but I just...

Mt6v5-6 The secret place is / this sofa / this floor / to pace like a caged animal /  or to turn one's hands over /  to surrender / and receive / / Only you can know / As you are fully known / /

Mt6v7-8 Idle repetition (1) defames God and (2) destroys language. (1) Four Hail-Marys, Three Allah-hu-Akbars, Two Om-Mani-Padme-Hums. There is a partridge-in-a-pear-tree mode of prayer by attrition, which makes a fool of God. God is not Baal 1Ki18v27, our God is not on the loo, he's not asleep, he's not flattered by our repetitive self-flagellation. God hears you Ps65v2. But, what is more, he wants your best more than you do. (2) Gn11v5 'the Lord *came down* to see the tower..' versus 'don't *heap up* empty phrases'. Perhaps the geometry is irrelevant, but the Babel story is pertinent nevertheless. Mantras aim to destroy language by repetition beyond nauseam which makes words into sounds, cosmic vibrations, mere good vibes, the hum of the unity of all things. Without language there can be none of that glorious I-Thou relationship which is predicated on the otherness of God-not-being-you and you-not-being-God. .. Please pretty pretty please please don't pray that way.

Mt6v9-10 Praying familiar words, I believe again, worship again, surrender again, covenant again, seek again. To the holiest sovereign ultimate reality, who is father mother brother sister lover friend. You know. Your kingdom come, the prayer that never runs out and never doesn't fit. Your kingdom come in my body, emotions, thoughts, responses. In our marriage, planning, waiting. In the houses and their hurts.

Mt6v11-12 “..Now something else, and please don't be insulted if I speak about this – bread. Let's talk about bread. Now to my mind, its an abomination to consider that any man, woman or child in this magnificent country of ours should have to look upon a loaf of bread as a luxury..” Wars are fought, walls built, people displaced and elections won on the issue of bread. If you don't vote Jesus for President, you will vote the oil man every time. .. Other breadibles: There's a time for Lk7v34 and Jn2v10, but a need always to know Pr30v8 how much is actually needful for your diet? Also (my favourite gleaning from the architects who visited this weekend) Jn6v12 Jesus loves recycling, Jesus loves leftover lasagne, there's a verse on it. ..  Debts. Imagine a jolly banker who was eager to pay off your debts, would you run and find friends whose debts you could stick on your tab that he was paying off?

Mt6v13-14 Lead us not into temptations, keep us from the i-do-what-i-do-not-want-to-do. We know temptation, our heart's drag away from willing-the-one-thing, our conflict, our double-mindedness. Keep us from it, oh God, from temptation that leads to sin to guilt to self-loathing to evil to death. Keep us from tangles. We give ourselves to God to save energy wasted wrestling unnecessary demons so that our soul be awake to touch life. Deliver us, like a birth, like a speech. You mother us and speak words over us that are new life, whole, integrated, made-for-this. So. So lead us not into time-wasting, unkindness, selfishness, but deliver us into this new day yours.

Mt6v15-16 Not if but when you fast, be careful, be stealthy, be ninja as your father in heaven is. Personally and politically motivated fasting is needed now more than ever because the cakes-and-circuses of the Singapores of this world are more readily and destructively available than ever before. But really, fasting is the easy part. Jesus here indicts joyless fasting, (esv) 'gloomy'-ness in our architectural fasting, which would be to prohibit grad show dull dystopias, but furthermore it condemns the pathological conspicuity of pious minimalism, reductive and self-piteous false economies, overwrought displays of ecologically motivated goings-without. Truly, they have received their reward.

Mt6v17-18 Holy secrets, righteous deceit. A call to an authenticity that does not bear its soul. Different to putting on a brave face or polite restraint or anxiously photographing oneself so that facebook will know you are Having Fun. Jesus command for fasting's deceit is premised on fullness not emptiness, on quiet confidence in Christ's identity-bestowing reality, rather than an anxious self-questioning, a fear of being too much or not enough. The joy of the secret place, the audience of One, rather than striving for the validation of Kundera's masses. In each moment of self-preservation today, even in the mind to oneself – be rooted in Christ, you are His. your washing and combing will follow.

Mt6v19-20 Ruskin on rust: “You all probably know that ochreous stain which, perhaps is often thought to spoil the basin of your spring.. ..it is not a fault in the iron, but a virtue, to be so fond of getting rusted.. ..iron rusted is Living, but when pure or polished, Dead. Jesus is speaking a Cor-ten gospel: the answer to the unweildily changing, even decaying materiality of the world is not to build cruelly hightech cold static stainless hypobaric hermetically sealed preservations of a good life, neither to gnosticise a disembodied pie-in-the-sky version of the good life and so not build at all, but rather to glory in the wealth that is Life, where we and our materials are active participants in an active reality. The same for stealing, the answer is less Secure-by-Design, and more a Bishop Bienvenu's silverware unstolen: thieves cannot break in and steal what we would joyfully give to Jean Valjean.

Mt6v21 Your heart is where you treasure is. So where is your heart this morning? Where does your mind wander, where do yoru thoughts rest? What does it mean to treasure? To honour, value, ascribe worth to, delight in, uphold? What does your heart betray about your worldview? It is good not bad to treasure, but what you treasure will change your heart, so treasure well. What is beauty in 5 minutes? Go. The spiritual life is a continual act of treasuring. v22 is a whole world of sensory metaphor yet to make sense of...

Mt6v22 How-you-see. How-you-see isn't value-neutral, and God the lover loves, cares about, is interested in how-you-see...

Mt6v23-24 Distorted sight is a darkness darker than blindness. Ruskin: “A man who is too dim-sighted to discern the road from the ditch, may feel which is which; but if the ditch appears manifestly to him to be the road, and the road to be the ditch, what shall become of him? False seeing is unseeing, on the negative side of blindness.” Right seeing is so important, God wants to know how-you-see Jer1v11, (and cares less about how-you-look Mt23v5). God would have us covenant with our eyes Jb31v1 (and not be proverbial winkers Pr10v10). Don't you see? We are not mere passive recollectors, we look actively, we have a world-*view*. Make it a good one, make it light. .. Of en-mastery. Not 'should not' but 'cannot' serve two masters.. It is a truism, a platitude even, you can only do overtime in one place at one time. Don't bite off more than you can chew, and don't compartmentalise that which you have bitten off. It is all sacred work done for God who is one.

Mt6v24-25 Noting that the gnb puts the break between 23/24 while the esv between 24/25. The different ways we might try to compartmentalise & order Jesus' words. So, paying attention to the 'therefore' at the beginning of v25 – it is because you are called to serve one master that you are called to unanxiety. let this 'one master' be the morning's liturgy...Struck also in a new way by the gnb's 'your body is orth more than clothes', the worth of your body is more than the sum of its parts, more than its ornament, more than how-it-looks. Your body grounds your being, your vehicle for movement & sensation & worship. Oneness of heart leading to glorying in one's body.

Mt6v27-28 Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid. Jesus confronts Status Anxiety (and Peter Singer?) here in the application of Christian total-fearlessness in household mundanities (via bioethical fortiori?), Christianity is centrally a Being-Unafraid Jsh1v7 Dn3v18 2Ti1v7. But how? de Botton suggests Philosophy+Art+Politics+'Christianity'+Bohemianism will save you from the fear. This will not do. No amount of finite therapeutic knowledge will answer the infinite fear: is the power at the centre of the universe benign? And, does it care about me? Jesus argument here, taken in isolation, is perhaps not sufficient to make that case, but for me, it seizes me out of a Ps22v6 low woe-is-me-I-am-a-slug value ascription of myself and timid Mt25v24 attitude regarding work and risk. Towards a 'more0than' sense of God's intentional love towards me via Mt6's preacher. We are so beloved to to be unanxious.

Mt6v29-30 More problematic words of Jesus countered quickly by the Stephen Laws of this world, and all those unclothed and unfed, demonstrative case against is close by – clearly God is a liar, or isn't real, or I don't count. And there is a superficial understanding of trust that could be inferred here, an i-trust-God-to-give-me-stuff-I-like rather than the Ps13v5 that weathers summers & winters. But I don't think this what Jesus wants to speak to here but rather the Ps24v1 Knowledge that the earth is the Lord's and everything in it. Ev. Ry. Thing. Nothing you will ever own will really ever be yours, and the ways that you comport yourself in your fantasies & aspirations & - indeed – worries betray your belief that you are master of this ship, that you have ultimate control over your own life, that you are your own source. You ain't. Repent and believe.

Mt6v31-32 It is a helpful corrective, contrast this unanxiety with Paul's anxiety-for-all-the-churches in 2Co11v28 and his restless spirit in 2Co2v13.. There is a right nervous energy, an entrepeneurial passion, a prophetic dissatisfaction, a Christian Concern.. 'But thanks be to Go, who .. always leads us .. everywhere..' Thus Paul holds tension in tension, being anxious without angst, allowing his heart a vulnerability to disappointment, in so trusting. In this way it is not at-all-costs-don't-be-anxious, for in that one could justify self-medicating anxiety with a dose of apathy, in the same way that one can kill lust by desexualising, and kill greed by disornamenting, and kill anger by not caring.. So, in your anxiety do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anxiousness. rather by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Mt6v33-34 Seek. First. The. Kingdom. Of God. Seek hunger want desire look participate actively intentionally remembering, remembering your first love. First, foremost, primary. Types of priority: developmental, chronological, epistemological, ontological, all of the above. So Seek First: movement plus depth, will plus time, the life to be lived with the Kingdom breaking in. This is what freedom is, this is where home is, as today was said. Kingdom come.

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Mt5v1-2 I enjoy such verses, the opportunity to think about the setting, the picture, the movements, the detail, the inbetween. The way we are with Jesus without words, the way Jesus is with us wihtout words. Allow yourself to be with Jesus without words, slowly, freely, for a while. The ordinary of sitting down and opening his mouth, which echo through Hb1v3 his sitting down at the right hand of the Father, after making purification for sins, and is brought back into this moment: Jesus, sat down on a rock, on the brink of a teaching truth, he himself the truth. His body's movement in space and time, he who is the Rv21v6 alpha, omega, beginning, end. This divine nonchalence, by which He comes close and makes us His own. What an absurd beauty.

Mt5v3-4 goo.gl/Ecjwa Hard to enrich these game changing verses. I am struck this morning by a reading of  '..in spirit' rendered '..in your knower' – in your understanding and self-awareness, knowing yourself to be poor, knowing the truth of your own poverty in your knower. So, lucky are the undeluded, who participate in the Real. Likewise of mourning, they are false prophets who put on a brave face Jr6v14, Jeus, by contrast, wept Jn11v35, because the Real is hard and the world is broken. However, this reading is not yet strong enough, these are not platitudes, akin to 'the best things in life are free..' Jesus here turns any such notions of felicity, that aren't tied down, upside-down. That is, Mt5 is only true truth if anchored to Christ's resurrection, without which the beatitudes are folly, pointless stoic suffering grinding out a purification. The highest blessedness in the now must derive from eschatology of death defeated.

Mt5v5 A meditation on the difference between meekness & humility. Both are relational, but while humility's focus is on locating the self beneath the other, it is focussed on the self, a recognition of one's own status as not-all-that. Meekness is a desire not to invade or harm the other, to not-have so to prevent them from not-having. Meekness hedges itself in for the sake of the other. So humility tracks truth, perhaps, and meekness track love. Different focuses in the primary field of vision where given to the Kingdom truth that if you are to gain your life you must lose it, that love cannot be taken by force, and the only way to inherit anything of value is to give it up.

Mt5v6 Hunger and thirst, such that you are dizzy, dissatisfied and demanding where the glare of holiness is not present to consciousness. this ache in the mouth and belly is for both a presence to the righteousness of Christ already gifted to us and a striving towards the righteousness that is the working out of our salvation. The manifestation of these in many multiple magnificent multi-faceted ways, but each moment must contain this glory, otherwise starvation, dehydration, death.

Mt5v7 Are the beatitudes read best as observations or commands or promises? Where is mercy's guarantee? Is mercy an active saving force in itself? Is mercy its own reward? Must mercy wait for its compensation in heaven? .. Meditating on the true truth of mercy's multiplication. Where mercy is forgiveness, to not offer mercy is to harbour unforgiveness, which is a clenching of your palm over broken glass of past grievance – thus the mercy of forgiving is merciful to yourself? Where mercy is debt relief, consider what motivates your holding debitors to account, consider the chains of debt of x who owes to y who is in debt to z. If x pays y, then y can pay z. OR, if z had mercy on y, then y would be able to have mercy on x. BUT, consider your are z, and yo u see y's great joy at having mercy on x, how does that affect your debt collection dialogue with y. Mercy is paying-it-forward contrasted with gazumping?

Mt5v8 Purity is an absolute, purity is a binary state. You are either righteous or unrighteous, saved or damned, in or out, because sin is black-and-white. Does this 'purity' language help? Does this inspire contrition and gratitude to a slaughtered saviour, who gave it all, that we might all be all clean, spotless, totally? .. Purity is a process, a submitting the window of our heart to cleaning by Christ, and by his labour for our gradual sanctification we see God more and we see him more clearly (Mk8v24) through this window. Does this help? Does this inspire perseverance? Do I fully appreciate glimpses, moments of clarity? Do I savour and see out a seeing-of-God? Like a pearl of great price, it is a phenomenon to see, and it will cost everything. Everything: a binary absolute black-and-white.

Mt5v9-10 Peace & persecution seemingly in tension, as to be the persecuted is to assert that one's will, convictions, or experience cannot be bought or bent by the other, it is to refuse to keep the peace by refusing to be desired or expected. So. Peacemaking is not people-pleasing, it is not weak, it does not seek its own comfort, it has no interest in pandering. Not is to be persecuted to be controversial for controversial's sake – in this latter we do not seek first the Kingdom but our own gratification, a reaction against out own people-pleasing towards another deceiving-ourselves-and-the-truth-is-not-in-us, we tell ourselves that if we are being controversial then we must be doing it right, we must be faithful servants. But God is not deceived. Seek peace, integration, wholeness, seek it for the sake of others, seek it for the sake of Jesus. This is the way of the most blessed.

Mt5v11-12 Persecuted. I'm just too busy to be persecuted much. The million minor martydoms I could engage daily are frankly inconvenient, they would be to waste the potential of this important undercover culture-maker, don't you know. The blood of the martyrs was the seed of revival in a pre-ironic age of capital punishment when life was held cheaply. Where is the blessedness in being despised? How does it help me love London, to find myself reviled for theological convictions? You have to say some really offensive things to make people want to martyr you, how can that be loving, tolerant, Christ-like? .. But, when I manage to dis-comfort myself so, then there is v12. Rejoice and be glad! esv; Be happy about it! nlt; be exceedingly glad! kjv; rejoice and triumph! abpe; exult! dbt; be joyful! wnt. (Gk: leap for joy) This is the life we get to live. Are you up-side-down yet? 's cos we're dancing on the ceiling.

Mt5v13-14 There is an invitation to Ps34v8 taste & see that the Lord is good, a call that people find out for themselves, by sensory experience, the goodness of the divine reality. And I, you, us, we are the salt to their taste and the light to their seeing. We are another's holy medium, are always given over to the other, whether we like it or not, Jesus' provocation asks how we give, what environment we make for the other – bland or dull or flavour or colour? Your salt and light is for the whole world, all humans, we are told twice – so colour and flavour is made for the person's unique unsubstitutability, but also for the their universal humanity. //  Oh these things for this morning.

Mt5v15-16 You, dear textee, are the light of the world. You are, you already are. You are the light and your light is for the world, you faith, your talent, your story, your goodworks, your love, your spirit-oxygenated god-fuelled Christ-ignited lumens blaze from you for the illumination of dark places. Am I committing a heresy of emphasis? *You* are the light of the world. You *are* the light of the world, and to put your lamp under a basket is to lie about who you are. Such an inversion will extinguish the light, or worse, it will burn down the house. I overstretch the metaphor, but I think that there is more power in considering your light as a fire, contagious, warming, and a little bit dangerous, that to consider yourself as a dull ecobulb of egocentric torpor. As Mournier's personalism is concerned to decentralise the individual and so unbasket oneself in ec-static radiation, ex-posing, comminicating love.

Mt5v17-18 Thinking of Paul in Acts 25 fighting by the letter of the law. Laws of all kinds are a language for values, which are expression of the universal human longing for truth goodness & beauty, found behind Jewish & Roman law, behind Socratic goodness, Buddhist interrelatedness, and even the relativist's self-defeating insistence of the truth & value of their doctrine. Jesus comes to fulfil each longing, each value, with himself, with mustard seed unlikeliness. But, make no mistake, for Jesus this does mean the breaking of some of the laws, a Sabbath's healing to draw hearts towards a deeper richer wellbeing, the fulfilment of the justice they long for. So, like Paul, work with systems that promote justice, that bring the accuser & accused face to face, knowing that only grace through Christ puts us where we should be, onlye grace unclenches fists, & so only grace fulfils the longing for justice.

Mt5v19-20 We're now in a terrifying two week crescendo towards v48's 'be perfect', so, upping the ante, raising the stakes, stick this in your wholly holey holiness clubs: unless you are greener than greenpeace, fairer than fairtrade, happier than gaypride, stronger than livestrong, fitter than slimfast, and more forbearing than tolerance ever was, you will not enter the Kingdom. You'll be left outside alone, at the gate peering through the bars, gazing across the chasm to the unattainable 'good' life.. The futility of moral striving compared to the need for perfection surfaces in Sustainability, as it does in sexual purity. Jesus' polemic is saving in these because it makes plain the impossibility of perfection without imputed righteousness. But also, it should save us from joyless arbitrary measures of how-far-is-too-far which falsely consider sexual restraint as a carbon-tax on our true satisfaction.

Mt5v21-22 There are all kinds of murderous angers in our hearts, unkind insecure jealous resentful hatreds. The death instrinct, the Freudians tell us, which goes deep through our being, our conscious & unconscious ways. We must recognise the ambivalence with which we love, we will not love well,we will not love with purity of heart when left to ourselves. but here's the truth to go with it: Christ the light of the world came to dispel the darkness of our hearts. Not superimposing himself onto us, not sticking his light over our darkness to hide it, but dispelling it, changing what we are, reconfiguring us. So it becomes possible, through Christ to be the pure of heart. to be free of the resentful fearful death drive. Jesus is the means by which agape eros philia storge triumph in our hearts. Come Lord Jesus.

Mt5v23-24 There is a certain self-evidence to these thought crime discourses, everyone knows one thing leads to another, and everyone understand that anger leads to hate leads to the darkside. Jesus adds to his an indictment of hypocritical displays of piety or unanger, as 1Sam15v22. Again, the world gets this, and perhaps too much, in condemning flowers bought as necessarily indicative of infidelity. .. I am particularly struck by 'the altar'. What is an altar? Today? For me? We can read this as instruction to have 1Ti2v8 'Holy hands' for church on Sunday, and draw this out to Rm12v1 'bodies as living sacrifices' in all of life all that I do for the Kingdom and for joy, at all times – a unity made fro constant worship and it I am an uncompartmentalised vessel for holding living water called to constant worship, I cannot hold water in Jer2v13's broken cisterns, and I cannot pour our to God water I owe to another?

Mt5v25-26 The legal imagery of the courtroom obviates all the elusive ways of our hearts each moment. We are always at all times, facing an accuser, self to other, other to self, or self to self. So, there is always the need to come to terms with our accusers, the need to move towards deeper reconciliation & shalom never leaves us. Struck this week by the need to acknowledge these accusations all about us, that Jesus might be allowed to work his work of reconcilliation. For without Jesus you will pay every penny before you get out, that is, you will pay every day of your life, these accusations will ensure you are never fre. You will be a slave to your habits, determined by your developmental formation, unless  the way of reconcilliation lifts the train for the tracks. 

Mt5v27-28 WWJD NSFW? SO hard to apply Jesus' thoughtcrime teaching on lust with nuance, rather I oscillate between a helpless snared flailing in the teeth of every tube advert and a conviction that the burqa would make the world a better place. .. Once you have got beyond a reductive definition of adultery being only that which breaches your prenup if caught as Clinton or Andrew Marr – which is our culture's you-have-heard-it-said-of-old, what then? What do you do with the sprawling venn diagram of all arousal being tantamount to unfaith? How can I be less lustful and yet remain authentically sexual? How, as an object of desire, can I make myself less lustable without obscuring my personhood altogether? Jesus, tomorrow, says make war, Peter 1Pt1v14 confronts lust as 'ignorance', so get wise to the motives behind our sexual revolution. But above all, know yourself beloved, which is the antidote to addiction.

Mt5v29-30 So Jesus preaches a doing of the lesser of two evils. Because moral philosophy is only good for something because we exist in a reality where demands on us come into conflict, runaway trains and that, Jesus gives us a blueprint for a certain kind of case. Namely, it is better to do violence to a condition, even a good condition to prevent the greater evil of falling into a habit, tendency or disposition that is sinful. Your habits trump your condition. If a friendship, circumstance or technology causes you to sin, habitually, compulsively, then cut it off. You will lose its goods, it is true. It is not good to be without eye or limb, but Jesus tells us this is no excuse, this is the lesser of two evils, and he pedagogy leads us thus, towards the emptiness of our excuses, towards the greater joy of himself.

Mt5v31-32 One man with one woman for one lifetime has always been controversial, difficult, impossible. Even when acknowledged as a narrow road, no one sets out on the journey planning to get divorced, so what happens? Hearts harden Mk10v5. So easily. So quickly. There lies a creeping calcification waiting to embrittle my veins, and when embrittled, my ossified hand in your would shatter and that hard glass held too tightly would puncture raw you flesh. So easily and so quickly. Oh God guard my heart from the brittleness of bitterness: the walls of porcelain defence I build round my shame; the barbs of greed; the suffocating egotism brought to bear on a fragile union. Lead me to Ez36v26's new heart, renewed without ceasing. In this confidence we humbly proceed. .. So consider also our marriage to Christ, 1. the necessary vulnerability imaged in circumcision; 2. the nullifying effect of spiritual 'porneia'.

Mt5v33-34 Jesus knows the ways we use &abuse words, holding them at a distance from our hearts & bodies, using them to conceal, manipulate & self-deceive. In love with the Mount's sermons' way, which uncovers what really goes on in our hearts, and lays before us a better way, let us take heed of v30's cutting-off as we weave our words today. 

Mt5v35-36 I've got a world-wide warrantee, satisfaction guarantee, if you ain't happy, then just send it right back to me.. .. Oaths, guarantees, promises, are a curious phenomenon. And, at a certain level their 'evil' is unrelated to the truth value of that which is promised (v37). Anything trying to leverage more truth than truth into a “Yes” is trying too hard, is taking power-over, is necessarily introducing dishonesty? .. Of 'swearing by the city', does this apply to branding? Eg. Rimmel vs Rimmel London.. Reasons why we are in London include gaining the power to have our CV 'swear' by London? Beloved, know that you are sufficient, your portfolio can speak for itself, you don't need Babel's seal of approval. .. Of swearing by you head. Your are not your own to offer as collateral, risking your head to 'guarantee' your word, risking your family to show commitment to your job is dangerous and dishonest.

Mt5v38-39 Mercy justice, because Jesus reveals what real justice is like, & what real justice is not like, just as the sermon reveals real sinfulness beyond skindeep. Jesus casts off two-dimensional pictures of human reality, including flourishing & including punishment. There are surely practical applications for this week to be assimilated & embodied, but I am full of wondering what Jesus teaching here is can should apply to the doctrine of atonement. If Jesus' teaching brings us closer to God's heart & ways then these verses tell us something of how God responds to our sin, that is, our wronging him, hitting her across the right cheek. So the cross is not God repaying an eye for an eye (even if it were his own eye), but the cross is like God turning the other cheek? Is it? Absorbing injustice rather than repaying it, such that, identified with Christ we are made these new creations. Questions yeah..

Mt5v39-40 Remember that time when we were stronger than God Mt26v67 Mk14v65 Lk22v63 Jn18v22? We slapped him around. Lest anyone consider this a coward's creed, lest anyone think Jesus intended loopholes, he lived out the logical extension of this staggeringly bold philosophy of of non-violent resistance (in this he was 'resisting' us?). Esvsb at its most flailing on these. Walter Wink goes some good distance with the 'other cheek' as a device calculated to make an injustice visible in thoughtful protests. Are these verses comprehensible to those not of the 99%? And, if these verses are not to subtly become a license for embittered passive aggression, where can I find the love to protest well? If these are a pattern for protesting injustice, and if Jesus comported himself towards me in this way, how then should I love my enemy? With suffering intentionality, will their best self-awareness.

Mt5v41-42 Always give, always lend. Always. Always? On generosity. & on od showing me my own lack of generosity. On the ways that superficial generosity can mask and prevent a deeper realer generosity breaking out. Real generosity always extends itself. Can it be as simple as this verse suggests? What would happen if you gave everything that was asked of you for a week? what of people's asking for bad things? Of unsustainable boundaries? But we are being told that there is never not a time to extend oneself. You must always engage with the other's appeal. even if it is to discern the appeal behind the appeal. So there is always a demand on us, the Levinisian face to face, Jesus calls me to a harder generosity. Jesus, transform my ungenerous heart to be generous as God is generous, in thought word deed. Amen.

Mt5v43-44 Who is my neighbour, who is my enemy? Coincidings.. T prayed this yesterday, with characteristic innocent ebullience, praying over the future home of the Pawlett Jacksons, asking that God would lead us in emphatically heterogeneous hospitality, or welcoming those not possessed of an oxbridge lingo.. The division of the world into neighbour/enemy begins with such subtle cliquing, subtle hierarchies of value, subtle exclusivity of language, an identification of 'us' comforted by understanding itself against a 'them'. Once there is a hairline fracture of tribalism, it only takes minor competition for a scarce resource to become enemies. .. Jesus advice here is not a keep-your-friends-close-and-your-enemies-closer, not even a Hope-of-the-States keep-your-friends-close-and-your-enemies-won't-matter-in-the-end. But Rm5v7-8 Love, keep loving, because we can, because God loves us even as Others.

Mt5v45-46 Jesus responds to Ps97v11 with a new grace. I live in ridiculous grace, waves of mercy. I am always receiving the grace of sun's shine on my small dark unrighteousness, I receive it from others Mt13v43, who in loving me shows me God. So then ungenerosity will not do, giving to those you like 'cause they're like you isn't generosity. It isn't like the grace I have received, which is sunshine on unrighteousness, I pray to be grace given as received. 

Mt5v47-48 (1) Comparative holiness, (2) unholy huddling and (3) being perfectly holy. (1) '..what..more..than..?' More. We are called to be more, to give more, to love more, because we know there is more and we have been given more. Christianity believes that reality is constantly more-than, that s why we hunger and thirst 5v6, Ps63v1, see Ponsonby's More: goo.gl/wNdev We are those to whom More is given Lk12v48 we are those who are forgiven More Lk7v47. So we sing, there must be a Hughesian More than this.. (2) Jesus' inclusivity of indiscriminate unhuddling here can be reconciled with the apparently sectarian preferential exclusive loves of Jn13v35 Jn17v9 Rm12v10 because love expressed for believers is motivated by mission. Love for believers is essential maintenance of a club which exists for the benefit of its non-members. Jesus relates this to wedding invites explicitly and at length in Lk14. (3) Be perfect. (Gk. Be teleioi.) That is, be your teleological seld, be more and more the person that God is refining you towards. I am struck this morning by a meditation on types of perfections: perfectio vs excellentia, perfect in substance vs perfect in purpose etc. Perhaps clarified by analogy to ways that we could make architecture more 'perfect' in this sense, more 'complete', less platonic, more exuberant, less abstract, more fully alive, less overwrought, more a redeemed and redemptive melange, less a cruelly reduced singularity, more perfectly situated, less generically reproducible, more Here and Now, less utopian perfections of nostalgic idylls.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Friday, 5 October 2012

found flowers: 020

seek and you will find it hard to believe

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

texting matthew four

For all of have sinned, for unto us a child is born, for God so loved the world.. This is what we're here for. 07729056452

Mt4v1-2 It has been said by a famous acronymiser that you are at your most vulnerable to temptation when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. So, what I do, is orchestrate my life so to be over-fed, politically-apathetic, constantly socially busy (especially this), and asleep (or caffeinated). That way I can Save myself, and save myself the trouble of being tempted and so go through life untested. - May. It. Never. Be. And Jesus does no mere endurance of temptation, but rather, he seeks it out (into the wild v1) and thrives on/through this spiritual warfare (vs the tempter v3). So, I need to be alone more often, and I need to equip myself for being alone with memorised promises 2Cor5v17 and truths Gal2v20 which will sustain me against such temptations as self-pity, and other Battles Christians Face.

Mt4v3-4 Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Continuing the metaphor of the infant's holding environment, a child cannot thrive & survive, cannot become a person, unless words are spoken to them. Physical holding and feeding are not enough, without words we become Cambderwell's 3-year-olds, unable to speak or screaming obscenities. So we are spiritually without the words of God spoken into us over us to us. Do we know we need this to survive, this interpersonal transaction with the divine..to believe we 'do no live by bread alone' is not primarily a test of our obedience or self-control, we need to receive God's word to be alive, so stop to turn your face towards Her, Her face is already turned to you, listen to the words, so that you might live.

Mt4v5-6 Too long I've been afraid of / Losing love I guess I've lost / Well if that's love / It comes at much too high a cost / I'd sooner buy / Defying gravity. ..God, however, is willing to have his love's labours lost, so to preserve the dignity of the humans who respond to him. God wants to be known, but it is not enough that Yahweh be known as powerful. There would be no conversion there, we all understand power drones coercion marketing. Pilate understood power Jn19v19-22 but preferred the fruit of the abuse of it Lk23v12. Felix Ac24v25 understood power but could not would not convert to giving it up in 'self-control' The real God is the groom who lays down his greater strength. .. Of dodging death, what good is it Mk8v36? Of greater importance is dodging present/eternal Hells of living in self-pity Mt27v5, labouring as an old creation 2Co5v17, of hyperactivity Mt23v15 and seeking after other people's praise Jn12v43.

Mt4v7-8 You shall not put your Lord God to the test, like you shall not manipulate your husband. No withdrawing to test whether he follows you, no building up walls to see if he loves you enough to break them down, no deliberate attempts to make him jealous as a test of his love, no throwing oneself down to the ground of the city in self-pity and self-contempt just to see if he loves you enough to save you. This is an old way, this is not love. Do not put the Lord your God to the test.

Mt4v9-10 'All these I will give you' esvsb notes only that this is a lie. Is it? We're trading with the ruler of this age Jn12v31, 2Co4v4, Eph2v2. We are dealing with a strong man Mk3v27 who has a lot to offer my identity anxieties and our internal monologues in which we consider violence as a solution to problems. His promises and his indictments are convincing because they are almost completely true: fastfood (of rocks to bread), bungeejumps (of angels bearing you up) and nucleararms (of dictatorial pax romana) – all do taste good and feel good, briefly. Just as when the devil says of me that I am an Old Creation, I can offer so little redeemed evidence to the contrary. But. It's not the whole truth, it is not the last word, it is not the big picture. In the same way, I deceive myself by speaking a partial word over my totality, a temporary word over my eternity/ But. I am a New Creation. That is how God considers me, that is the deeper truth. In this identity Jesus worships in obedient truth. So we.

Mt4v11 I want to pray this verse over those who are battling, as a prophetic declaration. Let it be so, for specific others, whose faces and names we know: __, __, __ … then the devil left them, and angels came and were ministering to them. Let it be so, let it be so, amen.

Mt4v12 Events, dear boy, events. Even Jesus let his thoughts and actions be altered and informed by events. We must come and go and make choices based on what is Given, both sorrow and joy. Jesus with drew to Galilee because of John's death. This is not a bad reactivity, this doesn't mean that Jesus didn't know who he was. We do not live in a vacuum, and this does not make us floundering ships or other maritime analogies. To be as human as Jesus and have out being-in-the-world we must walk hand-in-hand with God, making choices in response to circumstance. A simple truth, but freeing.

Mt4v13-14 (1) Expect to be displaced for your faith. (2) It is OK to leave your Nazareth. (3) God cares for the city compassionately and strategically. (1) Mt leaves out what Lk leaves in, Jesus didn't fall he was pushed: Lk4v17 Jesus preached Isaiah to Nazareth so they Lk4v29 tried to throw him over a cliff. So Jesus left. Gk: 'to leave' + 'intensively'. (2) Some old fashioned stubborn villages, cultures, workplaces can't be fixed right now and not by you. There were hurting and ignorant people in Nazareth he could have long laboured for their healing and teaching as, briefly, in Mk6v5, but he is free to move on. So Burt sees gravity-defier Kurt off to NYC, Jesus leaves Ohio but without a Rachel. You, so are free. (3) Capernaum a postexilic built cosmopolitan newtown portcity whose inhabitants were renowned as 'very great sinners, heretics, and dealers in magic arts' (Gill) So London. Who are we here for?

Mt4v15-16 Light metaphors. What would you say to us God? Light metaphors do want to speak of truth, seeing, knowing, but also of health. Human beings are not made to sit in darkened rooms. Despair is like being shut up in an enclosed claustrophobic prison with feeble light. Light here pours into consciousness to bring with it space, wide open spaces. The relationship between light and space means that a dawn speaks to our freedom. Darkness' not-knowing is more than an intellectual not-knowing, it is anxious afraid. Let the light metaphor speak to this pain. Light brings with it beauty, it is hard for pitch black to be beautiful, it is hard for freezing cold to be fully alive. Jesus thaw us warm us, throw up dapples, contours, colours, new perspectives. And what of the visual and the relational? What can be said? Might light show us the face of the one whose voice we heard in the dark. here I am, God.

Mt4v17-18 Use words if you have to. What words? “Repent!” Jesus talked-the-talk. He had to. Because the Kingdom is at hand, on hand, in hand, ready-to-hand, handy, close-as-hands-and-feet? What does this mean? Why does the close-at-hand-ness of the Kingdom require repentance? Why does repentance require preaching? Isn't the repentance required by the Kingdom self-evident without commentary and explanation and preaching? Oh Phil, repent and preach. .. v18 While walking. Jesus walked-the-walk. Litch. Jesus walks. Love the picture of Jesus the rambler, the pedestrian, the flaneur. Check Lk24v15. Jesus is a great walker. It is great walking with him.Jesus is missional walker. It is missional to walk like him. When you walk you see things. 'He saw two brothers', I see an army.

Mt4v19-20 I tend to resist this fishing metaphor, it seems impersonal and violent, to be fished is to be taken hold of. I was fished. I was and am taken hold of by a God who is kind not cruel,m interpersonal not indifferent. There is a God, who chases me down. I am the fish as well as the fisherman. This is the Christian mode of being, He chases me that I might choose Him, to choose to leave my nets and follow him each morning each moment. I always picture this scene by the sea from a 3rd-person perspective, but I pray I would take up the 1st-2nd-personal standpoint, it is my hands clutching nets, my feet on the shore. Let of and follow Him as in that moment the disciples were seized by something, something they couldn't not do, something worth the risk. We always exist in these moments with Jesus, & the adventure will always be sweeping others up, releasing them to know their fishyness & fishermanliness.

Mt4v21-22 Two other brothers, same prompt response to faith. How is my 'immediately'? And, what were these fisherboys so quick to respond to in this stranger who had Is53v2 'no form or comeliness..no beauty that we should desire him'? Three speculations: (1) leaving your net weaving and cleaving is a pattern, a way to the good life – marriage is but a smaller picture of a greater cleaving to which we are all called. And to be cleaved you must be called. They are called away from their father and they are called away from maintaining their nets – nets which were the maintenance and security of these families. What is more, to be called, there must be a caller, so the challengingness of our new commitments points to Christ's sufficiency to maintain us in an Other story. (2) The new. They may follow for the novelty, but they keep following because Jesus never stops being new, expansive, surprising. (3) To follow Jesus is to become his companion, Lk6v1-5, so he considers us. And in his speaking David companionship, his speak over his disciples that he sees them (and in so speaking enables them), to be as David's Mighty men, 1Chr11v22, ones able to fight lions in pits on snowy days.

Mt4v23-24 Jesus the healer of body, mind and spirit, Jesus who is Eph1v10 to unite all things in heaven & earth in himself, and so to heal, to make whole, to give integrity. Jesus is interested in integrating our experience, because he cares about our experience, that there be no Schopenhaurean small pain to distract us from himself. So v23 teaching proclaiming & healing, declaring, explaining & demonstrating an integrative work, the overflow of love, the manifestation of mystery.

Mt4v25 Here is a verse stuck between Galilee's hard places and a rock on which he gives a sermon. But there is not nothing here, because all scripture is God-breathed, but also because all reality is pregnantly full of the God who fills all things. .. Crowds. The multitude. What is the crowdiness of a crowd? Picture a Koyaanisqatsic time-lapsed trickle breaking into a gush of commuters pouring fourth from Canary Wharf to the tube, there is something almost necessarily melancholic about vast swells of tiny people, a lemmingy sheeply helplessness, as the crowds of Mt9v32. So we have compassion Mt15v32 and Jn21v17 feed his sheep. .. There is a from-ness to this crowd which matches the to-ness of Jesus commission in Ac1v8. So mission is from everywhere to everywhere even more so today. Look how far these people came, desperate to find-love-in-a-hopeless-place. Today, same desperation, same wildfire good news.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

texting matthew three

Three, graces on 07729056452

Mt3v1-2 Looking at the 'first words' the gospel writers put in John the Baptist's mouth, 'repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand'. The knowledge of the reality and the proximity of the divine constitutes the confession Jn1v20 'I am not the Christ', it is Jesus who is Mk1v4 'mightier than I', I am no longer my own. This is what it is to repent. And Lk3v7-8 'bear fruit in keeping with repentance', your mercy justice giving is part of the same movement towards this true God. God's proximity begets our humility and longing, our stretching towards the horizon of this God's work. This the life oriented towards Jesus, preparing and participating in His way.

Mt3v3 Would you pray for the young man at Vauxhall who would not give his name, who, under some complex chemical influence, was rendered devastatingly incomprehensible, except bizarrely to apply 'straight' as some aspirational quality to irrelevant objects, I don't even think we were talking about sex for most of our painful exchange this evening. Oh fury at the forces that bend and break people so, and a dull ache at my helplessness for his search for an abstract quality. What are these desired straight paths? Surely not some Ville Radieuse, nor indeed some GHD'd conformity. But an as-the-crow flies sense of directness in the mission to get the gospel from A to B; an un-pot-holed compassion for cyclists and the vulnerable; a religion-free abandonment of traffic-calming rituals, wriggles and street-clutter in my life; a straightforward war-time lifestyle for living and loving well in straightened times.

Why are we told about John's diet and wardrobe? The anecdotal curiosity of one particularly called? Why is Matthew recording this for perpetuity? And what would I like recorded for perpetuity? What would I like my grandchildren to recount about grandpa Phil's diet and wardrobe? Did it help make paths straight? What is the diet of a path straightened? What is the wardrobe of a path straightener? Intentionality, eccentricity, simplicity, locality, conspicuity, tactility, urgency.. You are what you eat?

Mt3v5-6 People came from far off, and people were baptised, and these people would have taken the journey home as well, a journey altogether transformed by baptism's choice. In the work of the Kingdom, we desire to draw human hearts towards the choice and the delight of baptism. We can draw them on their journey towards baptism, stand with them and participate in the holy moment of baptism, and we can resource and run-with the journey from the moment of baptism. In the work set before you today, each of these possibilities may open themselves to you, in all and any human dimension, question or choice. You are commissioned to draw-to, to baptise, and journey-out-with, today.

Harsh? As the discussion of Judas last night, it is possible to become hung up on the eternal destination of these characters and miss the cautionary tale that is urgently relevant to our own lives. Becoming Pharisaical is so easily done, indulging my own bad character, comforting myself with religion, measuring my own works and ultimately plotting against Jesus.. If you catch me in the act of any of these, I will not consider it simplistic or judgemental if you 'you-brood-of-vipers!' me. This Word, profitable for rebuking 2Ti3v16, is needed to correct bad brooding. And who is my brood, my gaggle, my parliament, my pride? What pathological modes of fellowship do I adopt to hear what I want to hear from well-educated, well-intentioned sympathisers? As the Judas discussion, the aim is no mere remorse, but fruitful repentance, which looks like Jn21v17 feeding his sheep.

Mt3v9-10 Important thoughts of Shadrach Meshach & Abednego's Dn3v18 staking of their life in the but-if-not, but again this morning the reminder that 1Cor13v3 the commitment of oneself to the fire without love means nothing. A potted definition of love: wanting the other's best, (the other as other, not as an extension of self)...of even wanting to want the other's best. And Christ bids us come and die with such an attitude, these unholy things, resentment and bitterness are the antithesis fo love because they do not want the other's best, they cling to self. The fruit of repentance is a death to old ways, let us long for v10 John the Baptist's fire, for the axe to our selfish roots, for the death we must die, and upon our resurrection the new-again miracle that can only happen with God: Eph3v17 be rooted and established in love, this is the only fruit-bearing soil.

Mt3v11-12 Don't wordplay with fire. Not a tame lion, not lukewarm, not scaremongering. Don't wordplay with fire.

Mt3v13-14 Just as this mysterious verse Eph1v23 – the church... is the completion of him who himself completes all things everywhere. So here, the Christ who asks us. The Christ who asks us to do things for him,not as slaves but as friends. The Christ who asks us to do greater things than he did. Jesus always dignifies us rather than patronises us, he always has mercy rather than pity. Important this remembering what God is like, and so being able to articulate what God is like, often do we offer a Christian God who merely tolerates us, where worship seems a pandering affair. Not this God, not this God, this God elects to baptise him, elects to partnership, elects us to glory. We! Hesitantly by the Jordan river. This is good news, this is a reason to live.

Mt3v15-16 What is the doveliness of the Holy Spirit? Female Gen8v9, innocent Mt10v16, lovely So2v14 5v2, moaning/cooing Is38v14 59v11 Ez7v16 Nah2v7.. groaning/praying Rm8v26? Do I desire such a genie? Does such a spirit dwell in me? How can one make oneself available to an alighting dove, but by standing still. So then perhaps to hear her groans too deep for words.

Mt3v17 Behold beheld be held to be, be held to hold. Behold, hold God in your being, see God, touch God, taste God, don't let go of God, hold on to God, let God hold on to you. Perceive, comprehend, gaze at. Let God take hold of you, let God take possession of you, says Sister Wendy, let God hold you and take hold of you, let God be your stronghold, behold, be seized and surrendered. 'Behold' from the Danish: haven, refuge. Look! indexical, demonstrative, look! Behold!! Here! Now! This! GOD. Lay eyes on this CHRIST, be stilled by this SPIRIT. So God speaks: you I love I love I love because I love because I love because I am love, love is what I do what I am, look! We trinitarian lovers, all here present, Father Spirit Son. I AM well pleased beloved, I love I love I love you. I love you.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

200words: metamorphosis

“...He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers, and his nails were like birds' claws.” Daniel 4:3

Metamorphosis:Titian2012 hangs together as a thorough exploration of a lusty theme, even the compression of perspective in the ballet vignettes calculates a voyeurism, matched by the hungry crawl of the quivering hand held frame drawing its narrow crop across dancing figures, grazing aloof, pouring over disconnected details, prying into the privacy of a rehearsal. And they are ravishing to behold.

But there is a maxim that Titian and his derivatives would like to question sceptically by visiting ironically or by viewing through a frame of nostalgia: that voyeurism changes you: that voyeurism is no mere action but the adoption of a worldview, an act preceded by an attitude, preceded by a view of the human. And as you believe about the human, so you become, animal, machine, inert, despirited, disanimated, and hollowed out.

In this way, there is nuclear power in the glory of the naked Other, you have to contain it or abstract it, in order to come out alive. For Titian this is exercised in an animalised abstraction, but we, engaging robotic intercourse and industrialised pornography in an age of fetishised technology and mechanical reproduction, with our eye to the peep hole, we become mere data-recievers, gutted of any intersubjective potential.


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Thursday, 13 September 2012

texting matthew two

Two by two by two. Thanking every other who has helped on these questions every other morning. 07729056452

Mt2v1-2 Thinking about other religions this morning before opening the Bible, that God knows what God is doing better than we do, and our best prayer for Yemen today might (incompletely) be that Jesus would be revealed in dreams & visions, Jesus answering himself to each heart's question, Jesus the only possible impossible conclusion. Praying for ourselves, the church & the world that God continues to draw all people to himself, which is what she does, as these verses, the most magnetic force the heart knows, we all find our home in v2 the worship of the only God there is. Of this, reminding ourselves again that God is not afraid to v1 use astrology to speak, God is not afraid to use part-truths to draw us closer to himself and so closer to the whole-truth. And this is our partnership, prayer & participation today in psychoanalysis, in work, & in Yemen. Amen.

'In the days of Herod the king': 300 years after Alexander and Aristotle, friends of Athens and the Acropolis, Antioch started then, Augustus rules now. Context via the letter 'A'.

Mt2v3-4 What troubles you and why? Who troubles you and how? Jesus troubles. [1] 'Herod was troubled..' - the trouble with kings is they're troubled by things which threaten their kingly endeavour. Easy to see how kings/we are troubled by the King of Kings' affront to our sovereignty. (Imaged in marriage's troublesome mutual ceding of sovereignty?) [2] 'Jerusalem was troubled..' Why? Herod was a pantomime baddy who murdered his wife and sons, so Jerusalem rightly feared a backlash. More interestingly he was the 'master builder who restored the temple in Jerusalem and built many theatres, cities, palaces, and fortresses..' In troubling Herod, Jesus troubles the city, Jesus troubles those who are actively complicit in the City's corruption as well as those who passively enjoy the status quo of the untroubled life on their rung in the social pyramid. Jesus inverts pyramids Ac17v6 – that's my King, do you Know him?

Mt2v5-6 As the NT writers use the old, we see again this relationship betwixt them which becomes emergent and altogether other in the direction of continued time. Mic5 doesn't look like the gospel narrative of the historical Jesus at all, and we are reminded, especially at crossroads, that God's way of fulfilment exceeds the imagination in kind as well as degree, and that this frees us, not to try to be the completers of our faith and hope. Eph1v23 Jesus the shepherd is the completer of all things, who fills all in all. .. Also of this prophecy that it addresses a place by name, speaks to the place directly. Oh Bethlehem, Oh London, Oh houses that we love...

Mt2v5-6 The relief of reading slowly, two verses at a time, thank you. In Micah the prophecy goes on 'whose coming forth is from old' or 'he is from old' Without knowing who it is, the first interpretation is easy. Because who would guess the great levelling, a member of the Trinity to step onto the utmost deck of a stricken liner, and by his weight, to right her?

Mt2v7-8 Secret Power. In my mind I have the pantomime Herod again: “Our three main weapons are surprise.. fear and surprise.. ..and ruthless efficiency” So much darker than this. Herod is doing what Phil does, before a holy God, and before a watching world: hiding. As Eph5v12, Ps36v4, Mic2v1, hiding misused power. And it is a strange self-deception: what feeble power, how innately unpowerful, how wasted, the little power I have is spent energetically covering over the mess of strength misused. Can we contrast this with the ninja-gifting of Mt6v3 or the modesty of 1Cor12v23 – which by their secrecy cover a laying-down-of-power, where the secrecy of Herod conceals a taking-power-over? .. The right response to baby Jesus, apart from grace, is hiding. The appropriate comportment towards the world, apart from grace, is hiding. but we have grace, and in abundance, we are blameless and beloved, so, Ps26v2 test me.

Mt2v9-10 v10 Rejoicing exceedingly, yes. Here is the moment when everything takes its rightful place and recedes to the background before the bright morning star. The one thing worth pursuing. Rejoice! From St M's this morn, Ps57v6 'be exalted oh God, above the heavens' .. Ps57v8 Awake my soul, Ps57v9 I will give thanks and praise, even as Ps57v4 my soul is surrounded by lions... The UCB Word given on Sunday for Friday 14th Sept – on Jn10v10 'The joy is in the journey' Behold, the wise man's journey'. Behold the wise man's star as you journey, as it rests, behold and rejoice. God is enough, God is enough.

Mt2v11-12 Facedown philanthropists. What transaction is happening here? And, what would it mean for me to be a wise man with my treasure? .. In giving, the Maji [1] give to God symbolically and, in the same move, they [2] give to missionaries practically. [1] Not that we can repay God Ps116v12, but rather see here wise worship: (1) 'fell down' I know a whole Bible's worth of wonder more than these Maji did, do I fall down? Wisdom is a body theology Rm12v1 leading to prostration Mt17v6. (2) 'Frankincense' and smell memory. Wisdom recognises aroma 2Cor2v15 and its power to convey truth Mk14v9 to your memory. (3) 'Gold' Mt13v44 'The Kingdom of Heaven is like.. ..sells all he had..' - getting God is worth more-than, always. More than gold, even Olympic gold Pr8v19. [2] Horizontal giving serves God. These (apocryphal tradition notwithstanding) anonymous Maji give to support and send the Rm10v14 feet of Mary and Joseph carrying good news wrapped in a blanket to Egypt.

Mt2v13-14 Joseph's second dream visitation is a mandate to go and to leave, 'flee to Egypt', where 1v20's 'take Mary as your wife' was a command to stay and to remain. As in church this morning, straightforwardly to ask ourselves in this season, 'is God call you to stay or to go?', as regards specific places or projects. Again, God, let us be Josephs to hear your voice, unmaking our plans and directing out path, as we keep doing this life with you. Perhaps also here to think about Jesus, Mary & Joseph's experience of home and of exile. Our Christ was an exile, a stranger welcomed, vulnerable to the other. He learned to walk and talk in a place that was foreign, he knew a misplacedness. Jesus teaches us to welcome the Jn4v7 foreigner & the Mt18v5 Child, but also to remember all the ways we live as exiles ourselves, we must accept the vulnerability of the other's welcome in order to be alive.

Mt2v15-16 Herod had a god, as we each do, a cosmic originating force with a divine plan for Herod's prosperity. Here, similar to mocking the prophets of Baal 1Ki18v27, the tragi-comedy at work is a display of the weakness of this god and the crisis of Herod's faith which corresponds to the force he uses against the powerless in compensation. And yet, although he kills powerless babies, we can appreciate his motive : babies are always a threat to out autonomy. So intergenerational animosity is such an Herodian crisis of faith and the demonisation of 'youth' at all levels of politics is a grasping of power-over. So, where Herod was willing to kill for a just-in0case, we who trust God for the next generation must be willing to die for out but-if-not Dn3v18. To be weak to be strong 2Cor12v9, to be vulnerable in order to be effective 1Cor1v27. Vulnerable in creating art, in raising children, in speaking Jesus.

Mt2v17-18 Matthew draws us back to Jer31, Jer31v31-34 the promise of the new covenant, the law written on our hearts, tattooed on our body, birthed from our womb. Here he is, the new covenant, bundled away under cover, terrifying in his proximity to us. The new covenant is one. of. proximity. Here in Jeremiah God promises that Jer31v15 mourning will turn to Jer31v17 hope and that children will be brought home. God fulfils this as Jesus speaks his words backwards and forwards in time Jn11v25, 'I am the resurrection & the life.' He speaks it over children murdered by Herod, that even though they die, yet they will live. So we ask in Jesus name, for the world, for that resurrection hope in grief, that you bring exiles home, the knowledge of your proximity, from which restoration begins.

Mt2v19-20 Jesus the refugee understands your captivity and your eviction. Jesus knows what it is like to be far flung, to be a third culture kid, to be on the outside looking in, Jesus knows. .. Two exiles: (1) The Israelites were pulled-from their home and kept-in Egypt/Babylon by a superpower. (2) Jesus was pushed-from his home and kept-out in Egypt by a superpower. We can read and apply these exile narratives literally and analogously. Analogously: What superpowers lock you in, or lock you out, of the good life? What past experience or learnt ingrained mental patterns keep you out of commitment, what genetic predisposition estranges you, what of your finance imprisons you? Ours is a God of Exodus, who sets you free for freedom. .. Literally, whoa re the exiles in your midst, the trafficked, the OE wanderers, the excommunicated, the urban lonely. We practise Exodus by hospitality because he homed us first.

Mt2v21-22 In each of Joseph's dreams 1v20 2v13 v20 v22 God or an angelic messenger 'appears' to him, and then speaks...'saying', 'being warned'. This came to my heart again yesterday, trying to grasp what it is like both to see God and to hear God, and how to articulate this to the seeker of truth as something with substance...in an impersonal universe things may 'appear' but you cannot be spoken to by such a universe, there is no sovereign subjectivity to be addressed by. Help me God, to know this in my lived experience, and to be able to put words to it in a comprehensive life-giving way. We live addressed, we live addressed, the address is why we live.

Mt2v23 – What do you 'need' in order to change the world? There are refutations of poverty theology which say that it's not about how much you give but what you do with it; that say that rich people need Jesus too; that wealth is a gift that we steward; that it is not more noble or authentic or righteous to be poor. It isn't, but demonstrating the sufficiency of the immaterial is more straightforward for the materially unencumbered, and pioneering a replicable Life on a poor budget excludes no one from enjoying to imitate: poverty of location, reputation, finance and power is beyond the reach of none of us – you have only to give it away. Nazareth was such a nowhere. It was here that the downwardly mobile stranger on the bus travelled up the junction for you, for you sake, so to say to all: however far you've fallen, however low you feel, God has gone beneath you, to catch you, Ps139v8.