Posts

Bless you

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The word of the Lord came to Joel (Joel 1:1) We end where we began, with a promise: delve deep into the Scriptures and they will point the way to life. You will not find it in the words of the book themselves but in the person to whom the book points, in the person of Jesus Christ. So we have followed and pondered and explored and discovered. I hope that you have enjoyed the process as well as the result, but, whether you have or not, I am grateful. I am grateful for the company, I am grateful for the comments and I am grateful for the consequences. For lives touched by my simple words, for people encouraged by a regular read and, of course, for another best-selling book. Well maybe not the last but it is available to buy now on Amazon. Just search for Look up in Lockdown by George Moody. Pay your money and keep for ever. Or better still buy two, one for you and one for a friend. And, lastly, thanks to my long suffering wife, Alison, who didn’t moan when I yet again escaped the chores…

Sheep home

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I will pardon (Joel 3:21) In Matthew's account of the sending out of the apostles, Jesus gives some good advice on mission. Don't get too tied up with resources, you have all you need. The ravenous monster (of building and budget) will never be satisfied, but real mission requires nothing but love. Expect opposition from both inside the church and outside it. People are wolves who will seek to consume you if they can, because the message you carry threatens their carefully constructed egos. I'll give you the words you need to break through and set free. And be normal. Mission isn't about grand gestures or fake faith. It's about normal people who trust Jesus with their lives offering real friendship that lasts to others who do not know the love that goes the extra mile to the cross. But if you just look for advice you are missing the point of the passage. Like Joel's promise of pardon, you need the build up. For Joel it is 'not pardoned'. There is a divis…

A place of our own

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Judah will be inhabited for ever (Joel 1:20) Around us it feels like the housing market is booming. Rumour has it that all those empty properties will soon be filled. It is hard not to wonder if we shall be overrun with Londoners finding a bolthole from the pandemic, but personally I don't mind. Please just give us some new neighbours. We really like the current ones but our street is looking very empty at night. There is a downside, of course. If our lovely villages become popular with wealthy urbanites then the prices will skyrocket. Frankly they're out of reach of anyone under 55 anyway, but who on earth will be able to buy them now. Well rich Londoners of course, and that's lovely as long as they join in village life. Certainly not poor vicar's children (or vicar's poor children), or farmer's sons, or care worker's daughters, or even care workers, or teachers, or... Yes I could go on. That's the problem with property. As soon as it becomes a desirabl…

Bubbles burst

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Egypt will be desolate (Joel 3:19) Well, some people's desolation has gone away. Our government seem to have come to the obviously sensible conclusion (a) that subjecting people to solitary confinement for months at a time is a bad idea (surprise, surprise) and (b) if you stick to a 'bubble' of one isolated adult to one household the risks are not greatly increased. Hooray. It goes on my shelf, next to Test and Trace, as our government's second genuinely good idea. It's a thin selection but credit where credit is due.  I hope I will not be looked down on though for pointing out that the restriction to stay at home if anyone in your household has symptoms remains in place. I think we need to rename this Cummings Law as a reminder of his singular failure to keep it. We could of course have named the travel ban after him, but that was always going to be temporary while the Stay at Home rule is likely to be pretty permanent. I'd like to note also that both these rul…

Dung heap

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A fountain will water the valley of acacias (Joel 3:18) The blessing of God foretold in Joel is so great it waters even the driest and washes even the dirtiest of places. One such place is the Valley of Shittim or valley of acacias, where Israel fell to the moral temptations of the Moab people, and whence Israel escaped to invade the promised land. The name of the valley is a happy accident, but rather usefully encapsulates the greatness of the flood needed to wash it clean. So, as I ponder the mess we have got ourselves into, I wonder what kind of flood will be needed to get us clean.  The latest ONS statistics estimate that, so far, during the crisis, in England and Wales, 57,961 more  people have died than is usual for this time of year. There are clever ways to make these statistics smaller but the likelihood is that these are all related to COVID-19 in some way or another. And they don't even include Scotland and Northern Ireland.  The latest news of our future trading partners…

Fresh promise

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In that day the mountains will drip with new wine (Joel 3:18) Come with me for a moment and study these words of Joel for something tells me they are worth it.  The word for 'mountains' is common in the Bible and appears to have a single meaning. It refers to heights, to mountains, but not ones of Alpine splendour. These high hills are not barren and snow capped but are cooler in summer and attract the rain absent elsewhere. They are ideal for growing wine. The word for 'drip' is less common and its Hebrew root has many meanings. Elsewhere, it is used for pouring rain or drunken speach so the image is of an overflowing flood so great it gets everywhere, not a controlled plop, plop, plop into a bucket. The word for 'new wine' or 'sweet wine' refers to the first wine of the season, almost grape juice, where less of the sugar has fermented to alcohol thus making it sweet. To have enough grapes to make 'sweet wine' implies that there is a huge bumper…

Going back

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I, the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill (Joel 3:17) There was a wooden circle, now called Woodhenge, not far from Stonehenge. It is all gone now bar some marks in the soil visible only from the air but, in it's time, it was the place people came to meet. While Stonehenge is surrounded by evidence of human death, by barrows and burials, Woodhenge is surrounded by evidence of human life, by cooking fires and houses. It is hard to tell of course, but it seems probable that both were used for worship. Stonehenge for rites connected to death and eternity, Woodhenge for rites connected to life and prosperity. The dead dwell near one, the living near the other. The promise of Joel is the removal of such a distinction. God dwells at the centre of both life and worship, death and eternity. There is no place of life and place of death, for our dwelling is with God both now and for ever. As the Book of Revelation has it 'I will be their God and they will be my children'. Thus…