One of my granddaughters came to say ‘hello’ recently and shared that she had been looking at the passage in Matthew 6 where Jesus tells his listeners to ‘consider the lilies of the field’. She knows it is a favourite passage of mine, but she wasn’t sure that she had the same idea, the same concept, as I had in my ‘mind’s eye’. The conversation caused me to think of ways that could help her to envisage God ‘clothing’ the lilies of the field.
I had to ‘consider’ very carefully just how to present a picture in her ‘mind’s eye’ of God ‘clothing’ the lilies. After all, it is a privilege to have such a discussion with one of my grandchildren. I couldn’t let such an opportunity pass me by.
Question: How many people just skip through the Bible passage and are left with a mental image of humans being ‘clothed’? That is not what the passage is on about.
The passage in the King James version of Matthew 6: 26-30 reads:
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”
Ah, thought I, … time-lapse photography would do the job. Whilst not of lilies the New Scientist has a time-lapse film of an acorn growing into a sapling oak. Youtube has many videos of lilies budding, opening up and blooming, but the acorn video is in more detail.
Science may use different terms to that of Religion but both disciplines are referring to the same things in the world we inhabit.
Dorothy L. Sayers says in “Creed or Chaos” (p. 43)
“She, (i.e., the Church) must insist strongly that the whole material universe is an expression and incarnation of the creative energy of God, as a book or a picture is the material expression of the creative soul of the artist. For that reason all good and creative handling of the material universe is holy and beautiful and all abuse of the material universe is a crucifixion of the body of Christ…”
Strange words indeed to those who haven’t encountered them before today, but not to those who are familiar with the Christian Creeds in particular the Athanasian Creed.
It is not true at all that dogma is ‘hopelessly irrelevant’ to the life and thought of the average man. What is true is that ministers of the Christian religion often assert that it is, present it for consideration as though it were, and, in fact, by their faulty exposition of it make it so.
The central dogma of the Incarnation is that by which relevance stands or falls. If Christ was only man, then He is entirely irrelevant to any thought about God; if He is only God, then He is entirely irrelevant to any experience of human life. It is, in the strictest sense, necessary to the salvation of relevance that a man should believe rightly the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Unless he believes rightly, there is not the faintest reason why he should believe at all. And in that case, it is wholly irrelevant to chatter about ‘Christian principles’…”
A BLESSED 2017 CHRIST-MASS TO OUR READERS