Queen's counsel XXVIII

December 2003

I was woken from my reveries the other day by a familiar voice on the Radio giving me a "thought for the day". In that moment, I realised how important it is both to know myself and to engage with the other. The Greeks, at the oracle at Delphi, used to teach: "know thyself, and thou wilt know the universe and the gods". They recognised the essential spark between the known and the unknown. They realised, perhaps, something of the mystery of God within, a foretaste of why we celebrate the coming of Jesus in human form at Christmas time.

Jesus may also be familiar but do we really know him? Do we hear what he has to say and how does it affect our life now? Are we saved by his involvement in the world or are we saved to continue his work all around us? These are questions that we are grappling with this term in our module on Salvation. The answers are not easy and I am convinced that we all have to find them for ourselves. We have to work with them where we are and with those around us. We need to make sense of who we are and why we are here.

There is always a tension between our innermost feelings and our outward actions. St.John captures it well in the prologue to his gospel we hear the words every Christmas. "He was in the world and the world knew him not he came unto his own and his own received him not" [John 1:10-11] but St.John also says: "but to all who received him he gave power to become children of God". There is the promise if we find him with us as we seek to play our part in the world, if we invite him to be our constant companion and if we take heed of his word to us, we are given strength to make a difference. But first we need to recognise his presence.

John Bell, for that is who it was who awoke me the other day, puts it this way in one of his hymns:

When God Almighty took his place
To save the sometimes human race
He took it boldly on a tree
And whispered 'humbly follow me.'

When God Almighty comes again,
He'll meet us incognito as then,
And though no words may voice his plea
He'll whisper 'are you following me?'

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This page was last updated on 2003-10-22

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