Archive for the ‘Modern versions of Biblical stories’ Category

Psweets

When I say sweets, I bet the first item of confectionary which comes into your head is wine gums, either that or fruit pastels. And if I’m wrong, then no sweets for me.

But unfortunately, this post isn’t really about sweets at all – its not even about jelly babies or those lollypops you dip in a bag of lemon sherbet. This post is more of an introduction into a writing project of mine which I started working on over the summer, and ‘Psweets’ (spoken with a silent ‘p’) is what I’m deciding to call it. In a nutshell, ‘Psweets’ are psalm tweets.

I’ve been quite inspired by the challenge twitter gives in getting whatever you want to say down to 140 characters or less (including spaces). I’ve also been quite inspired by Gerard Kelly’s ‘twittergies‘ where he uses the twitter format to create personal liturgies.

And so over the summer I thought of a new project…tweeting psalms…one tweet for one psalm. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to fit a whole psalm into a tweet (I’m already looking forward to Psalm 119!) but I can take a couple of verses from it that stood out to me, I can try and catch the essence of the Psalm, and instead of cutting and pasting from bible gateway I thought I could try and re-word the psalms in my poetic conversational style.

Not only has it already been a challenge to me creatively, but it’s been fantastic going through the psalms and join the faith journey of highs and lows with the likes of King David. It’s spiritually edifying, but then its going to be because it’s meditating on God’s word.

It assures me that I don’t have to be a constant cloud number nine Christian where it’s a sin to be anything other than ecstatic and enthusiastic. It reminds me how in awe I should be of my heavenly Father, of how much love and grace he shows us, yet how we should not forget to fear him also. And along with these, it also re-jogs my memory of how it’s always been about a personal relationship with him, even before incarnate Jesus.

So that being said, my hope for these psalm tweets is not that they take over Scripture. I don’t profess to be a Hebrew Scholar like Eugene Peterson with ‘The Message’, but I have a heart to re-connect with God’s word and not get lost in translation. I don’t claim that these ‘psweets’ are ‘God’s word’, but I hope if anything, they help give snip bits and a fresh perspective on the psalms we’re reading. 

My plan of attack is to ‘psweet’ five days a week; Monday to Friday and then re-cap the ‘psweets’ on my blog over the weekend. To follow my ‘psweets’; click here

End gass – but begin ‘psweet’

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Today I’m reading Corinthians 13 in a friends wedding.  This is God’s perfect love; that he gives to us freely, willingly and lovingly. But this is also the love he calls us to live out…for him and fo others. The torah summed up in a sentence…

(Deut 6:5)’Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’

And Jesus when asked ‘alright en, what’s the greatest commandment?’ says…

( Mark 12:30-31) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g]There is no commandment greater than these.”

So, lets try and love God and love others with the perfect love that God loves for us…

Corinth 13 NIV

1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

Corinth 13 (My modern version of…)

the most excellent way…

If I am blessed with multi lingual speaking, if I reel off all dialects – even the heavenly language itself, but I’ve got no love. Then what am I? Mere noise pollution.

If I have the gift from God to communicate what he’s saying, or if I can grasp the universe and all the wonder that’s…ungrasp-able! If I’m the Einstein of life and have the faith that can make terrorism extinct, but I’ve got no love, who am I? I’m nothing.

If I auction off my house, sell my car on e-bay and pawn everything I own – flog it at a car boot sale and give every last penny to the homeless…but if there’s no love – what do I gain? Absolutely Jack all.

Love waits, love-love’s to give. It doesn’t want what it hasn’t got, mouth off, name drop, brag or get ‘me’ centered. It doesn’t throw a tantrum if things don’t go to plan, or need anger management sessions, but when you chalk up the tally of mess ‘n’ bad stuff – it just gets the duster out and wipes the board clean. Love doesn’t crave for what’s messed up but gets a ‘high’ off ‘truth’ and what’s right.

It looks after like a bodyguard, always trusts – even when stats prove that it shouldn’t, always counts on, never loses hope, never lets you down and It. Just. Keeps. On. Going.

Prophecies will grind to a halt, mouths will be zipped up and knowledge will be…………forgotten.

So, When we strip everything away, all that’s left is the triangle of faith, hope and love. Go on, Take a wild guess, which one’s the greatest!?!

 

Made it? I’m not saying I’ve made it – I know I haven’t, and I’m not saying I’m the finished article either! I know I’m not! But you know what? I keep going, I keep running. Trying to be more like him, in his running pattern, trying to copy his flawless technique. I keep on, keeping on. Cos there’s light at the end of the tunnel and with every stride I’m thinking about that ray of sunshine beaming down on my face.

To grab hold of it with both hands – eternal life with the King; Heaven – the very reason for which Jesus grabbed hold of me. To serve him and get the medal at the end of the finishing tape. And guess what? I’m not even on the finishing straight.

But what I do? I forget about the past, I move forward, no wait – I run forward, I sprint – with every stride that’s in me, all the energy that’s left in me, I press on, to the medal at the end of the finishing tape. To the champagne bottle after the chequered flag. I run to God, the guy waiting with the cork screw, the prize giver of eternal life.

He’s my energy bar,

He’s my running partner.

He’s waiting for me at the finish.

And he’s egging me on, heavenwards, in Christ Jesus

Acts 2:42

These were excited times to say the least. Full on devotion to the full on teaching – from God through the God chosen. Not analyzing text but socializing in the flesh – no small talk but Christ centered. Not pointless, but Christ remembered, breaking bread and talking to the head. Everyone filled with awe and God’s HS working in ways that could’ve made people question – ‘how could God be questioned?!’ Signs signalled and miracles miraculously miracled. All the believers sharing everything and everything they shared in common. They believed, wrapped up in their passion to follow Christ – they saw things new, in perspective, material wealth held no more value. Selling their homes, houses, cars and I-pods to those in need. They learnt together, prayed, praised and encouraged. Exciting times they were being used by God in big ways – and every time God came home from work he brought with more passion and hearts called to Christ. And the called to Christ tally chart just kept on rising. Big twelve say; “how could we not be encouraged?”

Acts 5         Ananias and Sapphira

These two also sold their share of properties to do their best for the cause. Well, when I say do their bit, Mr. Look 2 ways and slip a stack of property value into his pocket thought he was a saint. Next day he comes to the apostles with a moneybag and a big grin written on his face. “Here we are, all the notes from the jumbo sale, should do the trick for a bit.”

Peter head in hands sees straight through the soap opera acting… “Oh Please, how come you’ve messed up so much to let the evil one take over your heart? The money was yours to do with as you pleased and you try to pull a fast one, on God?!” Ananias heard this, next thing you know he’s collapsed on the floor and the doctor’s signing the death certificate. Word spreads about ‘the incident’ and people get scared. A couple lads dispose of the body. A few hours pass and the wife comes to see Pete, she knows of her husbands tricks, but nobody’s filled her in on what’s happened. Pete says (with a slay wink to the others), “this money bag, is this how much you got from the sale?”

Picking up some Derek Trotter charm from her hubby, “well, vat, taxes, take away the running costs (working out the sums in her head…supposedly). Yeah, sounds about right.”

“What you playing at? Don’t test God! Those two boys just carried out Ananias. And looks like they’re back for you.” Bang, she snuffs it too and the two lads take her out (what must’ve been going through their minds? Please Pete! Don’t ask us any questions!!) In the church or not, everyone’s scared and they tread carefully.

There’s this church right? Just on the outskirts of a big town. A few weeks previous an assistant pastor goes away on a prayer meditational sabbatical. He’s like the Yoda in spirituality and he goes away to be ‘cleansed’. In the meantime, the church has been doing its best to reach out to the community – it’s been doing all sorts, mother and baby groups, café evenings with coffee and discussion.

Anyway, the assistant prayer guru guy is on his way back and he pulls up outside the church for the weekly prayer meeting to find some drunk stumbling his way onto the church grounds. Our church goer is in shock to say the least…

‘What, a drunk on our church premises!? Oh this will not look good if anyone sees! It’ll ruin the reputation of the church!’

 He gets out of the car and threatens to call the cops.

‘Excuse me Mr Tramp sir? Kindly remove you’re scruffyness from the premises, I think you’ve gotten lost.’

He wasn’t lost, just little confused. Well wouldn’t you be if you had just short of two bottles of whisky? This guy had a pamphlet through the post about alcoholics anonymous classes that were starting up in the church. He just got the time and date wrong. He’s there stumbling back and for like he’s on a boat in a storm. He manages to fumble this leaflet out of his pocket and says…

‘hur…eagh!!uhg?’ (or words to that effect)

 Mr Spiritual snatches the pamphlet out of his hand just to find AA on the front, with the church logo at the bottom. He’s outraged to say the least and goes off on a rant with God.

 ‘This is despicable behaviour God, it really is. I mean I go away for 3 weeks and the place has turned into Herecy villege! How dare they encourage this sort of behaviour. That man isn’t even worth the ground he walks on and suddenly he just thinks he can stroll over to the house of God? I mean honestly, what will the deacons say when they find out?’

 He calls up the minister…  ‘An outrage I tell you!’

 The guy’s just thankful he’s still got his head screwed on even if nobody else doesn’t. He goes on another prayer rant about how ‘if only everyone else would have the same theology he did, ‘the church’ would be heading forward, and ‘the church’ would be speaking truth and ‘the church’…

 God’s had enough – ‘Oh, the church, the church, the church!’ You’re missing the point of the blinking church! Enough of this ego trip where you know all the answers and everyone else doesn’t. You think you got it all sussed out don’t you? Well I tell you something, this so called ‘bum’ he’s one of mine too. And in a lot of ways he’s further ahead than you are. He knows he’s got nothing, and he’s trying to change it. He yearns for me, but he doesn’t think he’s good enough. You on the other hand, you think you’re the gift of Christianity don’t you? Well I can tell you something, you’re not. Get your head straight, sort your perspectives. Just like this other guy, you’re not good enough, you’re saved by grace. And you’re saved by grace cos I love you, just like I love this guy.’