Some last longer than others.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
What’s that you say? You have one of these for me? And you only need my address?
Well, today’s your lucky day, since I’m giving my address away to those who send an email and ask for it. And the best news? It’s entirely free of charge! But hurry… the deal won’t last long!
Now, some of you are thinking that you don’t need my address because you already have it; and you may be correct. But, if the address you have for me has ‘St Mary’s’ in it, then it is old, old, old, and even you are in need of the correct one.
And another thing to keep in mind… I’m leaving on a jet plane on December 17th and won’t return until mid-January, so if you want me to receive your mail (read ‘Christmas Card’!) before departing, then you’ll have to put it in the mail this week! Hop to it!! I’m waiting!
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
I have been a slacker but the Fish Man hasn’t.
Here’s Judith buying her fish at her doorstep, as in a contemporary scene straight out of John Macnab. Though this seller is no ‘Fish Benjie’. (99% of you will have never read John Macnab by John Buchan, 1925. You should. It’s a good read if ever in the highlands of Scotland!)
Soon to come will be tales of Thanksgiving here at Gowrie Cottage and of friendships past and of trips to Edinburgh! Do keep in mind though that ‘soon’ is a very relative term!
Sunday, November 24, 2013
In the Spring of 2004 I was a study abroad student at Lithuania Christian College in Klaipeda, Lithuania. That semester I took a Synoptic Gospels class in which our study of the crucifixion of Christ somehow aligned perfectly with the release of The Passion of the Christ in Lithuanian cinemas. Having studied and discussed and written on the crucifixion over the previous days and weeks and then watching the dramatic screen production of it in the theatre, with spoken Aramaic and Lithuanian subtitles, the crucifixion of Jesus seemed particularly poignant that Lenten season.
This memory flooded back yesterday evening as I sat in Younger Hall here in St Andrews, witnessing a stunning performance of Handel’s Messiah. In the same way that the transection of my study of the Passion Narratives of the Gospels and the release of the Passion of the Christ in Lithuania became ingrained in my memory, this year my study of the Son of God in Romans and the performance of Handel’s Messiah is proving much the same.
For the last two months I’ve been writing and re-writing a chapter on Paul’s use of ‘Son’ in Romans 8:29 and what that means for the interpretation of the verse on the basis of its context in Romans 8 and within Romans as a letter. A significant part of this chapter pertains to the fact that, for Paul, when he referred to ‘Jesus Christ’ he wasn’t simply saying a name but was referring to Jesus who is The Christ (Greek), or The Messiah (Hebrew), or the Anointed (Translation), or The King (Referent). He was referring to Jesus, who is the King of the Jews, come to redeem not only Israel but all humanity. Because most people familiar with the bible or even Christian tradition refer to Jesus as ‘Jesus Christ’, as if Jesus is his first name and Christ is his last name, most don’t ever see the deeper narratival and theological significance of the term. Proof is in the pudding though: in Romans, ‘Christ’ is found 65 times, compared with ‘Jesus’, found 36 times, ‘Lord’, 17 times in clear reference to Jesus, and ‘Son’, only 7 times in reference to Jesus. ‘Christ’, meaning ‘The Messiah’ sent by God to be Israel and humanity’s Redeemer, is not another name for Jesus; it is his unique job title. Not Brandon Fire Chief, but Brandon who is The Fire Chief; Not Don Pastor, but Don who is The Pastor; not Donna Executive Director, but Donna who is The Executive Director; Not Jesus Christ, but Jesus who is The Christ (or The Messiah).
That Jesus is the Son of God and, as such, is the long-awaited Messiah of the Jews, has consumed much of my thoughts these last few weeks and particularly yesterday, right up until the moment when I closed the books, shut off the computer, and walked to Younger Hall to experience my first live performance of The Messiah, Handel’s Messiah. It was a climactic experience for these two months of focused study, and, as with studying the Passion of Christ (the Messiah) in Lithuania, is not one I will forget anytime soon.
My favourite moment in the narrative of last night’s performance was at the very end, when the verses spoke about the Messiah’s triumph over death and his establishment at the right hand of God. These two themes are the threads woven together to form the tapestry of my second chapter. But the end of the first section, the most famous verse, was also spectacular. You may recognize it.
‘King of Kings! Forever and ever!’
‘Lord of Lords! Halleluiah!’
Psalm 89.27 – I will make him the firstborn [Son], the highest of the kings of the earth.
As we enter into this new Advent season, the time in which we reflect on the coming birth of Jesus, the Son of God, dwell on this fact. Yes, it is the Son of God who was found in that lowly manger, but that Son of God was the long-anticipated King of the Jews; and, as it turned out, rather unexpectedly to most at that time, he was not the Messiah of the Jews only but of all humanity. He was a King who would defeat sin and death and who would call you and me to join in his victory parade.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
This is part of my route to work every morning. The steeple in the distance is that of my church, Hope Park and Martyr’s Church.
Speaking of work (tutoring work), my office received this email from a student today: ‘Hi! I just wanted to thank you again for your help, I had a session with Haley a few weeks back. I just got my coursework back and I've improved in all my essays by three marks! Thanks so much!’
We probably talked about structuring an essay, but I hope we didn’t discuss the differences between commas and semi-colons. If we did, she didn’t listen! Nevertheless, it’s always nice to know that I’ve actually helped someone in all these hours spent away from my dissertation work.