Musings from the Manse – July 2020

Have you ever played the game of guess the objects from photos of objects taken at unusual angles or just a tiny part of the object showing? Some were easy to guess but others very obscure. Seeing things from a different angle can be confusing or indeed illuminating.  When I used to watch my dad take photos with his Kodak camera in its brown leather case, he would often crouch down ‘to get the best photo’ as he would tell me and whilst it looked very professional, I have often replicated the stance but I am sure it hasn’t made any difference to the quality of my photos. That said, I do sometimes get low down to capture the subject I want, like the one below where I needed to get very low to look through the crops and noticed things down there I wouldn’t have seen just stood up.

It made me wonder about how we view God’s word given to us in the Bible. Do we just take it as we read or it is read to us i.e. at face value as it were, without using any of the intellect God has given us? Or do we use our intellect to understand what God was saying at the time and how it speaks to us now? Can we look at it from a different angle, if say through the eyes of a child or how a blind person might interpret it or a black woman or a new Christian etc. We all read it from the position of who we are and bring our life’s experience to our understanding and because we are all individually in relationship with Jesus we can bring enlightenment to others and vice versa. Please don’t ever think you have nothing to contribute, remember you are the expert in your relationship with Jesus. Hearing each other’s interpretations, questions and confusions is vital to us developing our relationship with Jesus and very exciting.

Let’s be honest, there is a danger as we get older that we become too fixed in our views and not open to God’s word for us today. This is evidenced so strongly in Acts that we have been studying in our Bible Study/House Group, in the Temple Authorities who had such fixed views that they didn’t even listen to Jesus to change the angle of their thinking and neither could those who followed him in the early church. Indeed, if anyone challenged their theology they put them to death, without any apparent prayerful checking with God!

Alternatively, even if we are open to listening to God are we committed to putting the effort into our relationship with him to hear his call on our lives through prayer and God’s word? Let’s strive to continue to make the church we belong to, one based on prayer and focussed on sharing God’s word and learning together and working as Christ’s body to glorify God in mission in the various communities that we are part of.

Your friend, servant and colleague in Christ


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