Compassion

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This Sunday I was leading the congregation is singing a wonderful chorus called Mighty to Save. The first line goes

“Everyone needs compassion…”

And it go me thinking, what does God’s word say about compassion?

A couple of scriptures came to mind, first was Zechariah’s Prophecy regarding the birth of the Prophet John in which the Lord shows compassion to all of the earth.

Luke 1:78 (HCSB)

[78] Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the Dawn from on high will visit us
[79] to shine on those who live in darkness
and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Shared from PocketBible for Windows Store (http://www.laridian.com)

And also Paul’s exhortation on the Christian life in Colossians.

Colossians 3:12 (HCSB)

The Christian Life

[12] Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, [13] accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. [14] Above all, put on love — the perfect bond of unity. [15] And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. [16] Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. [17] And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Shared from PocketBible for Windows Store (http://www.laridian.com)

What a great pair of scripture passages! A reminder of God’s love for us and another reminder to practice God’s love for all people. Compassion is something we must put on daily and practice daily. And when we do something to do it in the name of Jesus, giving thanks and praise!

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Racial Justice

I thank God for podcasts. I really do. There are so many out there that can really expand your understanding of our world, God and life.

I’ve been listening to a number of podcasts that deal with racial justice, particularly the issues in the United States of America around black people and their relationship with the Police and power structures.

The recent shooting and killing of a number of unarmed black people by Police has raised the issue of racism and the lives of black people to such a degree that I’m seeing the churches start to talk about it. And not just in a fleeting way. Churches are inviting black members of their congregation to share their experiences and asking their white members to listen and learn.

There’s two podcast episodes that I think deserve a mention so I’ve linked to the video versions.

The first is from The Village Church hosted by Matt Chandler.

 

The second is from Northpoint Church led by Andy Stanley and you can watch it by following the link below.

skininthegame

http://subsplash.com/northpointcommunitychurch/v/eb4c81d

It’s so encouraging seeing the church, particularly in the USA approaching these issues and really looking to get to grips with them.

 

 

A Day’s Work at the Docks

 

Inspired by Jemmy Hope’s new poetry season at his blog ‘Swearing at the telly‘ I thought I’d add this little gem from George Milligan entitled ‘A Day’s Work at the Docks’.

I can’t find anything about George Milligan and the only reason I’m aware of this poem is it’s included in Jack Jones’ autobiography called ‘Union Man’! The little info provided records George Milligan as a Liverpool docker and a mainstay of the Liverpool Dockers’ Union.

I think the poem captures the awfulness of the situation that dock workers faced. Your impulse is to get bread for your family. The only way is work. That in itself is not a bad thing. But it’s how capitalism takes that down to the base instinct and sets man against man in the fight for dignity and bread.

It would be good if we could say with certainty that this is a thing of the past, but it’s not. We seem to be returning to the bad old days when the rich were rich and the poor were, well, poor and should be damn well grateful for what they were allowed to have. Did anyone mention zero hours contracts?

Anyway, enjoy George’s poem.

A Day’s Work at the Docks

Before the great world’s noises break
the stillness overhead,
For toiling life begins the strife –
The day’s grim fight for bread.
Where Mersey’s mighty greyhounds speak
The wealth or England’s stocks,
Stand, mute and meek, the men that seek
A Day’s Work at the Docks.

Behold them now – a motley throng,
Men drawn from every grade:
Pale, florid, puny – weak and strong,
All by one impulse swayed.
One impulse – bread; one impulse – work!
How hope at each heart knocks
As mute and meek, they crush to seek
A day’s work at the docks.

‘Stand back! Stand back!’ A hoarse voice storms,
With curses muttered lower,
The straining ring of human forms
But closes in the more.
Well fed, you foremen scarce can know
How want the judgement mocks,
When, mute and meek, men eager seek
A day’s work at the docks.

George Milligan, circa 1910

 

Values and morals

1 Timothy 6:17-19

Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life. – St Paul of Tarsus, AD 62ish

Sounds good.

“But what I am saying is that the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today.” – St Cameron of the Bahamas, AD 2011, BBC News

Sounds good.

David Cameron personally intervened in 2013 to water down an EU drive to tackle tax evasion, it was claimed last night. – Daily Mirror, AD 2016

Oh dear.

John Brown and his body

When you listen to those who we define as folk/protest singers and songwriters you tap into an oral history that you will be hard pressed to find elsewhere. These troubadours keep alive the struggles and trials of the past that we here and now should be learning from.

I recently got hold of David Rovics’ album 10,000 Miles Away. On there he has penned a song call John Brown (least I think he wrote the lyrics!). Now if you grew up in the time and country that I did then you’ll likely be aware of the traditional chorus of John Brown’s Body. Where it came from I didn’t know, just that it shares a tune with the Battle Hymn of the Republic. More than that? Nah.

But when you listen to David’s song then the story unfolds. You realise the story is about a man whose Christian faith leads him to confront head on with action the vile slave trade in the Americas before the Revolution. You see how black and white worked together to sow the seeds that would lead to abolition in the Western English speaking nations.

These men are all talk, what we need is action!

So when you get a taste of this story then you look further and you come across people, places and events I never knew about – Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad to name a few.

All it takes is one seed, one spark.

Mind Your Language

Whatever you think of Prime Minister David Cameron’s latest ‘battle against extremism’ there’s one part of it that leaves me in despair. That’s his insistence that immigrant Muslim women who fail to learn to speak English might be deported.

Learn-English-how-to-be-Polite

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-3404221/Muslim-women-unable-speak-English-benefit-language-fund.html

Badly thought out, impossible to service or measure and certain to put people’s backs up.

Who are these Muslim women who can’t speak English? I expect a lot of them are elderly and have little experience outside of their local Muslim community which wouldn’t surprise me to be reflection of their native communities and villages.

A man from Pakistan who has residency here finds that his mother is feeling alone back in rural Pakistan and seeks to bring her to England. It’s what anyone would want for their parents. It’s human. For the elderly like this, England is a foreign place and always will be. They have comfort and companionship within their community groups and families. They are perhaps remote in the sense that there is nothing that they really want from ‘England’ and that for them their life lies in family and community, those they can see, hear and touch.

I’d find it difficult learning a foreign language even if I lived and worked abroad. I’d do it because it has to be done. But to impose that on others who at their stage of life or exposure to education or learning is different is just wrong.

Keep the carrot, but please put down the stick.

Header image Copyright Lee Gone Publications

Psalm 82:1

Sometimes you come across something on Twitter where someone is trying to make a point. The graphic below is regularly posted by spittle-flecked atheists who use it to highlight the supposed gullibility of Christians.

psalm81

The problem with the above graphic is its glaring dishonesty. Either that or the creator and the many posters aren’t familiar with the grammar and form of the English language.

When you read it as it’s displayed then there really is an issue with the oneness of the Godhead. I mean, how can God who claims uniqueness take his place amongst other Gods?

However, when you take away the shouty caps you can see what the verse really looks like. Here’s some examples from various versions:

God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. – KJV

God has taken His place in the divine assembly;
He judges among the gods: – HCSB

God has taken his place in the divine council;
    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: – ESV

And so on.

There is no doubt that the Hebrew word used for ‘God’ and ‘gods’ in Psalm 82:1 is ‘elohim’. But taken in context the second use refers to what I would say is a divinely inspired council of righteous men of Israel. It fits the context of the whole of the Psalm. There is no equivalence of the subject of the occurrences of ‘elohim’. No one has ever translated or interpreted it thus.

The graphic above is dishonest, probably like its creator and the gullible sheep who repost it as gospel truth. They’re trying to score a point dishonestly by hiding the true meaning behind capital letters.