Thursday, 15 October 2015

This is That

As a child I often attended chapel with my parents and heard sermons that were way over my head. Sometimes a recurring phrase, or maybe just the preacher's text, stuck in my memory. I remember one preacher who constantly repeated the text 'Remember Lot's wife'. I remember nothing about the sermon, but I still remember Lot's wife!

On another occasion the text was 'This is that'. All I remember of the occasion is thinking what a daft text it was! It sounded like one of those examples of taking a few words completely out of context, like 'Hang all the law and the prophets'. I have since found out that the words came from Acts 2:16, when on the day of Pentecost Peter stood up to explain the strange things that were happening and said 'This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel'. It was the promised pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh.

I was too young to understand the subtlety of that sermon (assuming there was any), but have since come to see those three words as a central element in the whole nature of Christian faith and in our reading of the Bible. In fact the main point of reading the Bible at all is that we see a connection between something in the Bible and something in our own experience or in the world situation. There is that thrill of recognition, that light-bulb moment when we say, 'Ah yes! This is that!'

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