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.
Today there were more riots in Athens, with a lot of very angry people getting even angrier, at police who will also get angry.
Tomorrow there will be strikes in the UK as public sector workers protest about changes to their pensions. Many of them are angry. Many people think they are wrong in what they say, and that they are wrong to strike. No doubt, many of them will get angry too.
Whatever the cause, people often get angry for it.
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 blogged before about perfection in Being Perfect and it is one area where I tend to get into disagreement with other Christians, even Pastors. Most people I talk to say that it is impossible to be perfect. Bearing in mind my own track record, I tend to agree with them. But – and it is an almighty but – we are told to be perfect by Jesus himself :
You must be perfect â€” just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48, TEV)
It doesn’t seem to matter what translation you use. I looked at 15 different versions, and all of them, with the sole exception of The Message, used the word “perfect”. In all of these translations, it wasn’t a request, it wasn’t a suggestion. It was a command.
When my brother and I were very small I remember that we would sometimes get the giggles. I am sure that we started laughing for some valid reason, but when it got out of control we were just laughing because we were laughing. There was no stopping it, even with the threat of punishment from whatever authority was lurking near us who could not see the funny side of things.
I like to see people laughing, and I love to make people laugh. I too like a good laugh, and I would rather laugh than cry. Sometimes I go back to the old days with my brother and laugh so much that I can’t stop and laugh so much that it hurts my stomach. Sometimes I laugh so much that I cry. In the wonderful years since I met Libby and became a Christian I have laughed a lot. When you have a good life, laughter is easy.