Thursday, January 05, 2017

Malachi 1:1-14

One of the pleasures of a holiday is getting to hear a sermon other than my own!

I recently preached through Malachi and it just so happened that where we went to church on the Sunday after Christmas the sermon was on Malachi 1:1-14. I reckon the preacher probably did a better job that I did (though he didn't preach on exactly the same segment) so I steal his headings here with a possible view to next time:

3 ways the people have dishonoured God:

(1) by their actions, v7

(2) by their words, v7

(3) by their attitude, v13

3 glorious truths about God they have forgotten:

(1) God wants to be known, v1

(2) God loves his people specially and particularly, v2

(3) God is a great king

Ordinary time

This Sunday I might say something about the church year.

I am no expert on its origin or meaning but I think it is a jolly good thing that the church has some Ordinary time.

To be sure each Sunday is a special celebration of the resurrection. And there are seasons of festivity of all sorts. Great.

But much of life is ordinary, isn't it? For many of us it is often mundane, sometimes menial. Christian discipleship is often a matter of simple and humble obedience where God has put me for the time being, to the obvious tasks that come to hand. Life has its ordinary daily needs of eating, cleaning, washing and so on which must always be attended to. And growth often comes from a long and unspectacular obedience in the same direction. It means reading my Bible (which I have read before) again today. Praying, perhaps some of the same prayers. Relating to my sometimes all too familiar family which still has the same foibles. There are few quick fixes. Every day there is me! 

The ordinary matters and is significant.

It is possible, essential even, to serve God in the ordinary.

Ministry to the sick

Granted it was written for a different age, but I wonder how often the C of E minister's visitation of the sick owes anything to The Prayer Book, which remains authoritative for him.

Including for example:

Then shall the Minister examine whether he repent him truly of his sins, and be in charity with all the world; exhorting him to forgive, from the bottom of his heart, all persons that have offended him; and if he have offended any other, to ask them forgiveness; and where he hath done injury or wrong to any man, that he make amends to the uttermost of his power. And if he have not before disposed of his goods, let him then be admonished to make his Will, and to declare his debts, what he oweth, and what is owing unto him; for the better discharging of his conscience, and the quietness of his Executors. But men should often be put in remembrance to take order for the settling of their temporal estates whilst they are in health.
These words before rehearsed may be said before the Minister begin his Prayer, as he shall see cause.
The Minister should not omit earnestly to move such sick persons as are of ability to be liberal to the poor.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Holiday Reading

Richard J. Evans, Telling Lies About Hitler

Evans' account of his involvement as an expert witness in the High Court case which followed when David Irving sued for libel having been called an anti-Semite, a holocaust denier and a falsifier of history.

Somewhat technical in places. I skipped part of the chapter on the allied bombing of Germany.

Could be seen as a practical application of Evans' defence of objectivity in history.

Shows how Irving could take in the general reader and to some extent many professional historians who would sometimes claim, for example, that for all his faults he was unrivalled in his use of German manuscript sources. Unfortunately, Irving's editing and translation were often grossly biased so that his claims could never be trusted without referring back to the original source, which obviously virtually no one will do.

Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

Highly readable, interesting, entertaining. A glimpse into a somewhat vanished time of class privilege, supposed honour and booze. Amazing that Philby could fool so many for so long and could even make something of a come-back after his treachery had been guessed at.

Le Carre's afterward evokes a particular voice captivatingly.