Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Collective Sin

In the evangelical church we have placed so much emphasis on individual salvation that we miss the inconvenient truth that there is also collective sin.  The Bible verse that brought this to my attention is Isaiah 6:5 "“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” "  Notice Isaiah confesses his own sin, 'I am a man of unclean lips' and then goes on to confess his part in the collective sin of the society in which he lives 'and I live among a people of unclean lips'.

So what does that mean to us today.  Here in the West we, generally, live a very comfortable life without a thought of the cost of our life style to the rest of the world.  Today this is being brought home by the events in Libya.  In order to get hold of the oil we need our governments have been involved in accepting the rule of Gaddafi despite knowing he is an oppressive dictator.  Now his own people are rebelling against him and he is using totally unacceptable force against them.  This is happening because we supported him to get oil.

The next time you here about planes and battle field weapons being used against unarmed civilians in Libya don't just think about how terrible it is but pray to God for forgiveness for our collective involvement.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Les Ambassadors

Yesterday, before meeting my wife, I had a spare half hour while up by Trafalgar Square so I went into the National Gallery to look at some of my favourite paintings.  Among them is this, The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger:


Most people are fascinated by the elongated skull across the front signifying mortality but I want to draw your attention to this detail from top left:

Peering out from behind the drape is a crucifix.  I have heard a modern art expert say this shows that the scientific world represented by the ambassadors with their scientific instruments and books has eclipsed religion but I prefer an earlier interpretation.  Very close examination of the painting reveals one broken lute string:

This, to me, signifies the brokenness of the world and so the crucifix is there to remind us that for all their finery and learning the subjects of the painting are themselves subject to God.

Today science has moved on dramatically from the date of this painting but we do well to remember that behind everything is the love of God as shown by His death on the cross.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Animal Sacrifice?

I just spotted this at the top of the BBC News Sports page:

Newbury set to restage Saturday's ill-fated meeting on Friday after the death of two horses

Do they really mean that? Do 2 horses have to die before they can hold they meeting?