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 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.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Saturday, 1 September 2012

texting matthew one

Let's start over, theologically. 07729056452

Mt1v1-2 v1 Genealogy. Not the gnosis of right-Knowing superapostles 2Cor11v5, not spiritual intelligence or SQ: Christianity is first a right-Being by a rebirth not of our own doing, being grafted into a Jewish vine, rooted in history, made possible by gardener Jesus' life-death-rising in history. By this we are inheritors of an OT continuity, beneficiaries of a promise, participants in a covenant that has endured. This is why we retell the Jesus story, this is why we tell our biographies: because redemption is stories to tell. .. Two promises for us: [1] v1 via David 2Sm7v14 God will be as your Father-King. The royal inheritance and role that Jesus fulfils and subverts is also for us and in us to do likewise in this new Servant-Kingdom. .. [2] via Abram Gn12v3 You will be great to be a great blessing. .. v2 A genealogy of elect cowards: the ill-deserving Abraham, Isaac, Jacob Gn12v13, 26v6, 31v26. Such as we in our story.

Mt1v3-4 Bringing the OT into the new, like an infant and a caregiver. The separation process, where the infant must discover themselves as self and the other as other, must test these boundaries, & there is a right distance between each generation. The parents create the container, the map, without them there is only void...but they do not provide the detail of the journey, and the next generation weigh & waits & integrates anew. So each verse in the genealogy contains within it a struggle of inheritance & evolution, very literally, the extraordinary existential wrestle for making sense of all this. Let us wonder at this human process, & let us think about our Jewish predecessors as the parents we have to learn not to passively inherit. How so? What wisdom? Like Zechariah's donkey subverted. Jesus, whisper something in response to Judah & Tamar's Gn38 brokenness, for here & now.

Mt1v5-6 What is meant by detailing the cameos of Jesus' all-star ancestry? There is more here than proving the legal minimum of a generic Jewishness inherited. Did Jesus, by nature and nurture, receive and extend specific virtues from this line? Did Jesus inherit Rahab's savvy Josh2v4? And in this, can we understand Rahab teaching a type of Christ-mothering? That she, in hiding spies on the roof enacts a parallel to the precious Jewish Col1v25 mystery hidden in her womb? And if Rahab is mother, then Jesus is the spies, in-breaking Mt12v29? And this pregnancy is Rahab's work demonstrating faith Jam2v25, as the faith of all pregnancy, and like all the midwifery of evangelism that leads to new birth? .. And did Jesus gain from Boaz the virtue of redemptive romance, which was present in Joseph and Mary's marriage, and endures in Christ's marriage to his church? .. Christianity in its history and practice is genealogical, what have you inherited?

Mt1v7-8 Jesus tells us in the same breath Rv22v16, he is the descendant of David & the bright morning star. These things somehow important together in holding together his humanity & divinity. Meditate on this, new mornings, morning star, real & illuminating & beautiful to behold, yet sprung from David's 2Sm11 unfaithful selfishness. God has grace enough, know it again, now just in theory, not just in other people's stories. God's beauty from brokenness is a kindness & a healing, an evidence of blamelessness & belovedness, quick we are to forget. Jesus' birth is the victory over our memories, imaginations & habits towards His new thing. So David's 51st Psalm, with incredulity & gratitude.

Mt1v9-10 In this genealogy, as in life, there are not good guys and bad guys: there are bad guys and Jesus. Jotham – bad 2Ki15v35; Ahaz – very bad 2Ki16v2-4; Hezekiah – initially promising 2Ki18v3-5, then bad 2Chr32v25.. Such are we, so lucky are we to have another's righteousness imputed despite our just desert. .. While we are speaking of genealogies, which are begettings, which is conceiving, I would love to crowd-source a theology of contraception from the smattering of sacred-textees. Noting from today's characters that Ahaz's highest sin was infantcide, and Hezekiah's final judgement was child exile, and that was because Manasseh had relapsed to child sacrifice. What form of idolatry leads to this conception of conception? What possible motive force is behind the anti-genealogy of Ahaz's attitude to children? How can this inform and moderate Phil's theology of contraception? Too much? Help me please.

John Guillebaud has written expert books on contraception both for users and prescribers. He is a cheerful Christian.

Mt1v11-12 There is a rupture in direct biological inheritance between v11 Josiah and Jechoniah 2Ki24v17, as I navigate these names. Grace and nature then, there is grace in nature, but grace also expands & subverts & overcomes nature, mercifully. So the familyless can become family and the lion may lie down with the lamb. So grace expands & subverts the concept of a natural family, perhaps, taking it beyond biological children. How then do we live, with this grace that throws open doors? I am still struggling for an eschatology to guide me, where is the nature and where the grace in Mt22v30? A genuine question.. Also, that the begettings are here punctuated by exile & return, these important events in our collective cultural consciousness, the background within which we search for God, all Sebald & Frankl. 'Exile' and 'Home', felt from the inside, this is how we know we are spiritual creatures seeking.

Mt1v13-14 Penultimate genealogising for now. Struck by Zerubbabel, the architect-king rebuilding the temple in Ezra, a Levirite adoptee who is transfused into the bloodline from 1Chr3v19 'Son of Pedaiah..' to the later Ez3v2 'Son of Shealtiel..' - Such are we in this genealogy: Adopted, no longer slaves but sons Gal4v7, if sons then heirs Rm8v17, and if we endure, we shall reign 2Ti2v12. .. And of endurance to return to Zerubbabel, we see in him the Davidic line weathering exile, where his name even means 'begotten in Babylon' he returns home, having retained the distinctives of his royal Jewish identity. In the same way we trust God to keep us for himself and to keep for us himself – as he promised Zerubabbel: 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit' Zec4v6 – in this same promise we build, from out of our exiles, into new identities as sons of the King. So, go, pregnant with post-exilic possibility.

Mt1v15-16 If I was v16 Joseph I would continue to ache. Even where v20 fear has been cast out, your wife giving birth to a child that wasn't yours must ache in the guts still, even alongside the v22 hope the messiah stepchild promises, even alongside love, without blame or panic attacks or the demanding of one's rights. Even alongside worship and trust of God's way. Lingering sadness. I remember a line from Lauren Winner about going to Jesus with our sadness. How did Joseph do this day by day? How do we hold joy and heartache? What can I learn? Maybe I am wrong, maybe there was nothing lingering, Jesus is the great physician. Only a God can save us, only a God can heal us. Please come into each ache, God, even here, your Kingdom come, your will not ours.

Mt1v18-17 '..found to be with child by the Holy Spirit' as if crazy happened all the time, rather as Gn1v16 '..and he also made the stars.' There is a sublime nonchalence. God can do all things, you know. .. Of immaculate conception and that which the Holy Spirit is bringing to birth within you – God's timing can be inconvenient, unloving even in its scandalous impropriety. Why would God choose to break in during so happy an engagement? Perhaps we can receive that time is short, and God's new thing is always breaking in, already, now. So while God's work, done God's way will never lack God's surprise, let us seek Paul's Ac21v13 I-am-ready, knowing that God can do all things, you know.

Mt1v19-20 v20 'but as he considered these things' – Joseph's initial decision was not reactive of angry, but considered, premised on v19 justice & kindness. He was making the best decision-making with what he had before him, and in so is beyond reproach. But in weighing and praying he leaves himself open to the angelic prophetic, breaking in and rupturing his understanding of the right thing. Let it be so with us. Lord God, we are considering so many things, there are decisions to be made. We want to hold these prayerfully before you, and we will press on, trying our best, but you have permission to tell us otherwise and we are thirsty for you.

Mt1v21-22 Do not fear (v20) How? [1] The angel argues for fearlessness on the basis of prophecy fulfilled: promises in the past came to pass (virgin bearing son), therefore promises for your future will work out ok (son saving people). [2] The case from prophecy is an argument from God's character: You can be fearless at all times in all situations, if (and only if?) the ultimate power in the universe is sovereign-and-good-and-unchanging. We know this is so because we know Jesus (and only because we know Jesus?) [3] We can be fearless because God is Immanuel, that is, personal, present, engaged, With-Us. We fear because we are naked Gn3v10, Mk14v52. We are naked in being shameful, fallible, guilty, so vulnerable, but God clothes us Mk16v5. Know yourself beclothed in blamelessness and belovedness today. So don't be afraid Mt14v27, don't be afraid  Mt28v10, don't be afraid  Lk1v30, don't be afraid  Lk5v10, don't be afraid  Ac18v9.

So, we won't be afraid... Because it will be alright in the end, Someone's got a plan, a child will be born. What about if we fear the journey there? The child birth, the fight, the struggle, the persecution … I wonder if fear is as legitimate an emotion as grief? … Does fear have to mean a lack of faith? I'll still trust the doctor to fix me, even though I feat the treatment he prescribes and know he'll be present. Fear doesn't have to make people immobile. Are there different sorts of fear?

There is a question for the greek perhaps.. I wonder if we could split it don't-be-afraid vs don't-feel-afraid? There is an every-tear-wiped-away eschatological resurrection reality that is always there for us to choose: after this surgery I will be better, after this run there will be cake, after this death there will be life. By faith we choose to understand our present conditions as being an overcomeable part of a bigger story, and on that basis we do not 'be' afraid as a debilitating resting state. To compare it to grief, where Jesus wept is interesting. What should we fear? As, what was Jesus grieved by? .. As, don't fear man who kills the body, but fear God who can but body and soul into hell.. All fear is a revering a sovereign power bigger than ourselves, and we fear needlessly because we forget the true scale of things, we are God's kids, but we give power to idols by fearing them.

Is41v10 So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Listening to the Treneers expositing David and Goliath from 2008 Reps conference: It is possible to be imprisoned by fear – such am I at my worst, and it need not be. So, learning to kill lions and bears in my quiet times, so fearlessly to fight goliath in public, at home, at work, at play.

Mt1v23-24 v23 Immanuel Immanuel! God-with-us. Ps139v18 and when I wake up, you are still with me. With-me-with-us. In through by Col1v15-22 Jesus. So v24 when we wake up, we can do what the Lord commands, all obedience, decision and action, as Joseph's, born from the psalmist's epistemology of the morning's continuity of Christ-presence. Thank God He is With-Us.

Mt1v23-24 The name 'Immanuel' wasn't diluted or washed down by the second name, the name given at birth, the name of the carpenter. It became a dry and crackling fact. More like a number than a name, made alive by the thing counted, or this time, counted on.

Mt1v25 'Jesus', esvsb contrasts, is his doing, where 'Immanuel' is his being. Both are good news. Our God is a being and a doing, a being-with-us and a doing-for-us. That is, God is not the absentee landlord deistically far far away, he is with-us, close as hands and feet, near as breathing, among two or three gathered, his Kingdom is within you. .. And, doing-for, he lived the life we could not live and died the death we should have died, God is an active ingredient, interfering, in-breaking. .. 'Jesus' is a cry of the heart by humans who need saving and who know they need saving. .. There is something charming and profound about the Jewish euphemism to 'know' one's wife. Do I know Jesus? Do I merely know about him? Knowing Jesus and making him known necessarily begins with this sort of ecstatic union and communion.

Have also been thinking about knowing – Peter uses the word 'knowledge' 5 times in the opening 8 verses. There is knowing (gnosis) and then there is knowing (epignosis): the-gathering-of-knowledge-about vs the beautifully intimate knowing-of the one who calls and is brother, lover, shepherd, master. I don't want merely to know about but to know. Grace and peace (2Pt1v2) do not come through the head but the heart. And yet we are called to pursue head knowledge in order to help us to know. I long to know much of Jesus that I might know him better and deeper and be more in awe – to add to (v5) that initial moment of heart-knowing when we first see who Christ is in order that I do now become lethargic (v8). To know is to speak (Ac4v20) and to speak is to be made known as one who knows Christ (Ac4v13) and has been with him, which, is why we were called (Mk3v14)