Sunday, 24 January 2010

Edinburgh 2010

A reflection on the journey to 2010
by Bernard Thorogood

1. Foundations for Mission

I think of them, my sister and my brother,
caught up in long tragedy,
lost in a vast teeming city,
desperate for hope in a refugee camp,
and I know a burden on my heart.

I think of them, my mother and my father,
so fearful of the modern world,
facing health costs impossible to meet,
cut adrift from their children,
and I know a burden on my heart.

Yes, I care. But do you care enough?

There was no voice from heaven,
no temple filled with smoke,
no light on the Damascus Road,
But through human voices
the call comes loud and clear.

If you have gifts, give them freely,
if you have time, share it,
if you have strength, march on,
if you have love, embrace me
and if you know the blessing of God
you are needed to become a blessing.

Pain, blood, wounds, weakness, death -
so the cross marks the boundary of life,
old life over, new life to be born.

Here is the crossing place
from the old gods of bloodless power
to the vulnerable presence of love.

Here eternity is midday
and light shines in the darkness.

Humanity exposed, our crisis known,
our wounds bound up with love,
and so we say

This death is life-giving,
see the heart of the Creator.

I will be with you always
not only in the rainbow's assurance,
not only in the garden at dawn,
not only in ancient days of faith,
but now, tomorrow, always.

That's the only confidence we need,
not empires and glory
but the healing' presence.

This is the new covenant in my blood,
life given, life giving, life abundant.

He will sit as a Refiner and Purifier of Silver

There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi. As they were studying Chapter 3, they came across Verse 3 which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver".

This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.

That week this woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot, then she thought again about the verse that says "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he had not only to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered "That's the easy part, when I see my image reflected in it."

-Author unknown