Sunday, October 01, 2006

Getting Well and Reading 1 John in Greek

Brekkie and Greek
The nice thing about getting well after a long bout of illness is that you can wake at dawn comfortably refreshed, not gasping for breath and hacking your lungs clear across the bedroom. You can actually smell the sweet morning air and potter to the kitchen and make some strong hot coffee and toast some toast and while you're waiting, fry up some fat sausages and crispy bacon and sunnysideups and tomatoes and onions and baked beans in a skillet. Then you can wander away from the hot salty bacony kitchen and trundle across the grassy backyard with a little foldable table and chair and sit there reading 1 John in Greek and feel the lazy sunshine crack open and slope across the darkness confines of your paganish mind...

..until the neighbours throw open their windows and ask where you got your nice jammies from (the chappies at LitmusBlue, of course).

And the thing about reading 1 John in New Testament Greek is that it is illuminating. It could be the brilliant accuracy of reading a text in its original language, but my Greek is not of that standard. It could also be the clarity of reading something in a foreign language, so that you are forced to consider the meaning and repetition of every word.

But the Greek is not the point. The point is that at the end of it, you are overwhelmed by the bigness of God, the eternalness of Christ, the mindblowing all-encompassing...well...Godness of God. And then, of course, in comparison, the very infinitesimal smallness of yourself, sitting there with your little Bible, in your little patch of green, with a redeemed but still rather darkened heart and darkened mind. And then, discovering afresh the impossible magnanimity of God's condescending to bother with the destiny of little you, the smudgy blot on his landscape, by sending his eternal Son to die in your place, for your disgusting little sins.

Woah. And at that point in time, you cannot imagine how you could ever stop walking in God's light, in obedience to God. Why would you ever leave the path of he who is life itself? How could you ever revert to the small-mindedness and small-heartedness of your former being when you had since known so much undeserved favour and enjoyed so much uncalledfor love?

But you know, too soon, that you can. All too easily. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). It is healthy, said Chris Chia at service on Sunday, to acknowledge the persistent presence of sin in all our lives.

But it's also depressing. For we do not do the good we want, but the evil we do not want is what we keep on doing. We delight in the law of God, in our inner being, but we see in our members another law waging war against the law of our minds and making us captive to the law of sin that dwells in our members (Romans 7:19-23). And when we appear to regress, we feel we cannot face God again. Wretched man that we are! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24) But we need not fear: "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). How good it is to call one as steadfast and as unchanging as he our Father.


At October 07, 2006 3:57 pm , Blogger Faith said...

Wow. I love your thoughts! :)


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