Mt17v1-2 John got two sneak previews Rv1v17. Glimpses of glory titled the summer of 2001, was it? But I want you anew, Jesus, transfigure & transfigure & transfigure in & through each of these moments, each blah & resignation & familiarity. Transfigure yourself in my experience, dear Christ, for you have many faces & many looks, so for the transfiguring of my mind, from glory to glory. Gift.
Mt17v3 Moses and Elijah. This is not David Beckham endorsing a product. The Old Testament is the powder keg and Jesus is the spark. All law and prophecy are a longing, and Jesus is the longed-for, but, while the longing for a saviour is generic, the saviour himself is specific and his specificity is anticipated in The law and The prophets. Mt5v17 Jesus fulfils the Law and the Prophets, Lk24v27 the Law and the Prophets are concerned, centrally, with Jesus. Christianity is Jewish because God has done an irreducible singular act in history specifically for you specifically.
Mt17v4 Peter and the architect's impulse: with an insatiable pre-emptive nostalgia, he seeks the preservation of the necessarily transient, he seeks the domus-tication of the divine, and so gets lost in the presence-to-hand of this Kodak moment. What do you do with your Holy Moments? Go and tell? Give it away? Or sit on it, abstract it, frame it, pickle it, holy-huddle it. Jesus seeks to transfigure us by also dis-figuring us of our idols (see Mark C Taylor's Disfiguring). Peter has glimpsed a glimmer, but, before a church is built on this rock, a certain stripping away of camping-trip images must occur. Saunders scathingly critiques Alexander as having a taste only for easy-going, leisureable, recreational, vacational architectures. Certainly this is the danger, to wish all of life was Iwerne, as if we could stay at L'Abri forever, as if it were Christmas every day. Don't you know there's a war on.
Mt17v5-6 I felt the word 'holy' in my mouth yesterday, & it felt far away. Holy terror again, & declarations of love. We believe often that the holiness & the love of God are there co-existing, but held in tension, experienced differently. Yet God exposes a rawer form here, both love & holiness as one. They were overshadowed, says the esv. Beholding holiness, beholding belovedness, so every encounter of the true God. Holiness alive knows love. Listen.
Mt17v7-8 Don't be afraid, as texted Mt1v21-22, Mt6v27-28.. Many things to be afraid of, being small before a big God, being small before a big world, a big enemy, a big responsibility. I'm struck by Jesus' “Rise..” Get up, stand up. Fearlessness is for something: for action. As Rise Apparel remind us (Mc7v8) goo.gl/fvWLy6. Samson sermon prep on Jg15v10-13 found this: “If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point.” Fearlessness is for difficult action. .. v8 reads elegantly, taken out of context. Obviously it means that the Old Testament beardy ones had gone back into the cloud, but taken in isolation: 'When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.' So, we. Ps121v1
Mt17v9-10 Angst at arbitrariness & authority. What do the scribes say? The disciples feel fearful here, trying to resolve the felt incongruities between doctrine & experience that sometimes pierce the heart. What ground do I stand on> Frustrated at the hiddeness of these things today, rather than wondering at the mystery. Made me for a moment want to try atheism for lent (atheismforlent.net), but then, I found, that's not love. It's not love to break up for a bit. Or maybe this is a disanalogy in Eph5 picture of being married to Christ. Oh, I don't know. Faith seeking understanding.
Are there any contemporary prophets?
If there were or are, what would they discuss?
Mt17v11-12 Are there any contemporary prophets? Yes. Always. Although prophets don't so much discuss as declare.. Are there contemporary prophets? Yes. See Jesus claims: (v11) “Elijah does come.” or “Elijah comes.” Present tense, Indicative Mood, Middle Voice. Elijah here stands as a Type, the prophetic mode, which is enduring. Constantly speaking of what the spirit of God is doing, constantly relaying the Father's heart, constantly preparing the ground for the Christ-seed, constantly calling the Ahabs and Herods away from their Jezebels and Salomes, constantly speaking the original truths, the timeless, timely and urgent: the jealous love of God. Indeed, the perpetuation of prophecy is crucial to Jesus' point here, as it is when he speaks a woe in Mt23v29-31. The notion that prophets *were* is what kills the prophets that *are*. Are there contemporary prophets? For those with ears: http://goo.gl/ovlRSf
Mt17v13 This 'understanding' is a key theme of Matthew, Carson and esv tell me. 16v1-12 not understanding, 13v51-52 coming to understand, a bit. The flailings of yesterday & every self-directed 'stupid' a frustration at this gap in my understanding, at the darkly of the glass. But yet, understanding happens, little by little the disciples understand new things in new ways, as I. This week reading Wynn on models of the role of affective experience in 'religious understanding: (i) concepts transforming affects, (ii) affects transforming concepts. (so (i) & (ii) the cirtuous cycle of Jesus' teaching & experience of Jesus) (iii) affectively-laden paradigms which pick out salient features of reality as meaningful, (iv) experience of anticipated resolution, of the not-yet, of yearning. This last one is the dark glass itself, it is an understanding of its own.
Mt17v14 and so, on my patchwork quilt of understanding & not understanding, I kneel.
Mt17v15 'Have mercy' - I seldom pray this way, but it is the Jesus Prayer: 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' Declaring Jesus' God-ness, renouncing any sense of my own entitlement, clinging to grace and graces, acutely aware of my own frailty and the Christ's unique sufficiency. .. I found a strange piece of commentary debating the 'lunatick' translation of epilepsy here, (along with details of the effect of the moon on our condition.) The obscurity of these details perhaps reflects the breadth of our falleness: the many possible ways we are bound up in systems, forces, spirits, diseases, addictions, conditions – united in their effect, that is, self-destruction. Throwing our selfs into the fire, sinking our selfs beneath the waves, imperiling our bodies, wasting our souls, letting it all go to seed and rust, oh the free-fall of despair. 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
Mt17v16 'they could not cure him' But of course. Are there healings? Is it possible? Not for these disciples, it seems. Why not? There is a supernaturalism-fail going on here. But what does the fail consist in? I think on every not-healing I've not-achieved or not-attempted. What did I lack? At one level I lack sufficient v15-mercy, and at another level I lack sufficient v17-faith, but in-between those, I lack a supernaturalism. Supernaturalism is an unstable isotope, decomposing from you-can-walk-on-water to a vague-theism and then to all-out-naturalism, decaying from CSL's 'I believe..' to 'one does feel..' constantly. I lose sight of Jesus for half a minute, and my faithing switches to automatic autopoietic autorelated, the retractable roof on my Centre Court closes and I run on my own self-summoned magic and ritual, in memory of healings past.. Could you cure this child? No. Epilepsy is yet incurable. No?
Mt17v17-18 In which Jesus is cross with me, for my lack of faith. Perverse of heart, & consequently unable to discern truth to believe rightly or clearly, like our chaotic Jg18. So actions are impaired, a vicious cycle. Caught in my double-mindedness, begrudgingly to ask – what do you want to say to me, God, about my motivation, perversion & perception? It is hard to bear your irritation, as it was hard to hear words of withdrawal last night, my response is to blank out, curl up, resort to manipulative, self-justifying, flailing, wailing ways. I think of the Hollingsworth paper on the patterns of attachment, rupture & repair in prayer, as the infant & caregiver. Do please come back, like the good mother, to bear me again, that I might learn. I can learn from this absence, if I know you'll take my hands back. Ps51v11-12 cast me not away from your presence..restore to me the joy of salvation.
Mt17v19-20 If you've not cast out a demon or cured epilepsy recently.. it could be because your faith is smaller than a mustard seed. Cheery? Convicting? Condemning? Bah!? What am I doing wrongly? Do you still want to receive these text messages? Sigh. And yet, but yet.. Jesus is not in the self-pity business. Contrast Sarah's Key, a literary exercise of calculated wallowing in culpable futility, the export of a drug, cathartic in its emotional pornography. Oh woe is me, I do not have and I'll never learn to ask rightly Jm4v3! Read again, there is Hope. Gill notes mustard seeds as a common Middle Eastern measure of minisculity (ref Al Anbiya' 21:47). A fascinatingly obscure, but unintentionally encouraging comparison. Islam's mustard seeds are inert, a millimetric accuracy regarding the weighing of your sins and virtues. By radical contrast, the seeds here are Ferngully's explosive ingredients. Small is beautiful, sufficient, effective. Start small, move mountains. .. Also, of moving mountains, there is not SMZO's beleaguered pluperfect 'could have moved..' but rather (niv) 'can' lah.
Mt17v21-22 Of verses edited, throws up the seeming fragility, contingency & ambiguity of the text. Why do you trust yourself to the New Testament? Really though. At one level the clumsiness adds to my confidence of its labour, knowing the Heythropians beavering away in the biblical studies department, obsessing over details – there's an element to which taking the experts' word on historicity etc seems reasonable, & all the more so for footnotes & absentees. Still, in the face of goo.gl/oYsGR can I still defend my trust? I'm still going on a 'you have heard it said', am I not? 'but I say to you...' Afeared of pitting Jesus against scripture problematically, what can be said less reductively than 'because these particular historians said so'? Evoking Wynn again, perhaps my primitive sense of God is given conceptual enrichening by scripture, which in turn allows a testifiably deeper intimacy with this God.
Mt17v23-24 Death and taxes, innit. Being flippant. And such are we when we consider Jesus' death as inevitable, even more so his resurrection. Rising again, it's just what Messiahs do, no? I am more and more convinced that intellectual conversion is necessarily very miraculous. There are two chasms to be vaulted. 1. Historic. 2. Semiotic. So, 1. 'They will kill him..' Jesus died, a real death, in real time, the same real time that is continuous, extending to this morning's sunrise in a stream of causality flowing into my present, a stack of dominoes, billiard balls, consequences. We killed the son of God, the guilt endures. The appeal of popular Occasionalism's mysteriocisation of causality is that, in rendering time as discontinuous moments, we are freed from a debt to history. .. 2. '..raised to life..' and 'twas brillig in the slithy toves..' and 'colourless green ideas sleep furiously..' Dead men don't rise.
Mt17v27 Fishy business? You've heard it said this is a passage about taxes, tithing, the regulatory principle, 1Co8v13.. Yes. But also. Don't lose sight of the fish. This is my dissertation. Parabolic Realism. Close your eyes, and with *why is there anything at all?* in the back of your mind, allow the vast coral reef of delectable thingumies to swim through, as a glittering shoal: Mercury, Venus, fridge magnets, hummus, Spandau Ballet, whiskers on kittens, microchips, hatstands, Harman's party of object-oriented speculators may be playing fast and loose with orthodox continental philosophy, but they do so with such wonder, such vivid colour, such delight! In the next chapter 18v3 and then again in 19v14 Jesus is going to call us to come as children. This is it, Jb38, who put the smiles on the orchids, who taught the honeybee to dance, and who puts the coins in fishes? Love you to text me a list of your favourite things.
Over-sized pig's ears, butterflies, hops, wifi, bikes, yellow roses.