Posts by JasonH

“Are we there?”

“Are we there?”

By on Sep 9, 2014 in Blog |

Are we nearly there yet? Many journeys this holiday season have been peppered not with the classic, “are we nearly there yet?” but with my 4 year olds favourite, “Are we there?” As we hurtle at speed down the road I like to reply, “Yep, here we are. Everybody out!” In that moment in the seventh minute of a seven hour car journey I’m faced with a choice. I can– like many parents – either dread the next four hundred and thirteen minutes longing to be at our final destination or I can cherish the multiple toilet stops, myriad packets of sweets, innumerable Jacobs cream cracker crumbs scattered throughout the car, dispersion of fruit and banana skins I will later find, countless rounds of iSpy, who am I? and our family favourite ‘ketchup car’ (rules below*). Do we cherish the journey or long only for the destination? Do we wish this life away and long only for the new heaven and new earth? Or conversely do we think only of this life and the race marked out before us without ever glimpsing the prize? Hebrews 12:1-3 calls us to fix our eyes on Jesus and to run with perseverance not growing weary or losing heart. The word perseverance (hypomonē) can be translated as patience, endurance, steadfastness and constancy. Admittedly none of these sound like much fun but they do sound good for me. And there does seem to be a balance – the need to run the race and to know to where we are running. The classic Christian phrase “in the world but not of it” carries the sentiment that we should get out of here as quickly, unscathed, unaffected and as well as we can. It feels like the ‘in the world’ is a melancholy realisation requiring a feat of endurance to make it through, and then one glorious day to leave. In John 17:14-19 we see the opposite. Jesus says that the starting point is ‘we are not of this world’. The truth of being set apart, belonging to a different kingdom is not the ultimate goal, it is the believing disciples now reality. So what does Jesus make of the ‘in the world’ bit? He...

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Inward and Outward Christlikeness

Inward and Outward Christlikeness

By on Jan 27, 2014 in Blog |

  The aim of the Christian journey of faith is to become Christ-like. Being like him in his devotion to God’s glory and his compassion for God’s creation. This can neither be a conformity to an exterior acceptable existence nor only an interior perfection. I am seeing a growing frustration and excitement in the church about what it means to really follow Christ.  What does it mean succeed in the model of Christ’s holiness? It is clear that our actions (our visible life) should reflect those of Christ. But it is often all too easy to evaluate holiness in terms of this life alone. As disciples, united with Christ, our visible life should testify to our union with him. If he is the vine and we are the branches, life should bear Christ-like fruit. Too often Christian life doesn’t bear the kind of fruit one expects to see. I am becoming dissatisfied with bland fruit. St John Chrysostom wrote, “It is not enough to leave Egypt, one must also travel to the Promised Land.” It is not enough to simply remain alive in him, there is also a mandate for us to bear fruit. Jesus visible life challenged and transformed life. Should our fruit not do likewise? The impetus of Jesus’ holy living was his inner holiness. Good deeds and acts of justice are of little consequence if we merely conform ourselves to what we see as good and do not allow our inner life to also be transformed. What good is anything unless we have love? A very real challenge today is that it’s not enough to be a Christian by name only; conforming to the patterns and precepts of the church. We may very well be accepted and even esteemed by others in church and society but rather we should allow our hearts and spirits to be conformed to that of Christ. Without our inner life (our personal relationship with God) being transformed, our striving will be, at most, to live up to the standard expected in our social group. Indeed, some excel and exceed the standard. But if the external life takes precedence or operates in isolation, most will struggle to meet the minimum requirement and...

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