The news of the capture of Gaddafi yesterday was an amazing breakthrough for the people of Libya, but it caused a mixture of emotions in me. The first and strongest emotion came out as “Good, he got what he deserved.” There is no doubt that he did, since by all accounts he was a brutal dictator who had no compassion for others and would readily eliminate anyone who got in his way. But as the news developed from the initial rumour to solid fact, I started to feel other emotions.
Libby and I are very alike in a lot of ways, but in some we are totally different. Spreading butter is one of the things in which we are different. Libby spreads very carefully and makes sure that she covers every bit of the bread, right up to the edges. She perhaps has this feeling that if she misses a bit then it won’t taste the same. Not me – I go for speed. Get as much on, over as large an area as you can, then take a huge bite, on the assumption that there will be the right amount of butter and bread in the gob, and just mix it all up as you chew. Fast food.
Last week at Celebrate Recovery, one of the guys said something which was interesting, alarming and funny, all at the one time, but I think “alarming” is the right description.
For the sake of confidentiality, I shall call him Dave, but his real name is Steve. No it’s not, that was a joke – his real name is Charlie. No it’s not!
We are getting to the stage in the programme where we start making a moral inventory. We look at the things in our lives that have had a major impact on us: things that we have done, things that have been done to us. They are the stuff that have built our hurts, hang-ups and habits. As we deal with them one at a time, we reduce the influence they have or have had in our lives. As we reduce their influence, we reduce their impact on us and their control over us.
Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly all was calm. (Matt 8:23-26, NLT)
I am very aware of the fact that the Bible is a living word that speaks into the situation that you find yourself in. So often I read a passage and it means something different or something more than it ever did before.
Sometimes, though, I think this is often the case because I don’t think deeply enough about it – I just scan read, just as I have always skimmed the passage in the past, and I miss something, or put something in that was never there. This passage in Matthew is one such story.
I have been watching the events in Egypt with astonishment. I have marvelled at the courage of the people, and there is no doubt that the world has changed dramatically. Twitter, Facebook and the internet in general gave them a “weapon” which was never before possible, and put the world in a place where revolution can take place with scarcely any bloodshed. There is no doubt that the impact which the protest had on the shaky economy also brought pressure to bear, as did the worldwide TV coverage. Thirty years of authoritarian government ended in fewer days.