Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Matthew 16 – Sons of Jonah

16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona...

Simon Barjona – there’s something about the man you just can’t help but like.

Maybe it’s the way he wears his heart on both sleeves.  Maybe it’s the way he opens his mouth first, and worries about putting his foot in it later.  Maybe it’s the way he’s always ready to start something, but never around long enough to finish it.

Maybe it’s the hopeless transparency of the guy, all bluster and bravado on the outside, but all too obviously nothing but mush underneath.

Maybe it’s the look in his eyes, when he tells you about the things he loves the best, the wind, the waves, the ever-changing skies, and the fish – oh yes, the fish: when he tells you one of his “fisherman’s tales” about the greatest catch he ever took, probably the greatest catch in the history of the world, a catch so big that it all but tore his nets to shreds, and came within a whisker of capsizing, not one, but two of the best darned boats on the water.

Of course what he doesn’t tell you is that afterwards on the quayside he completely went to pieces and embarrassed himself in front of everyone by prostrating himself at Jesus’ feet and imploring the Master to depart from his unworthy, and admittedly rather fishy, presence.  [Luke 5:1-11]

But that’s just typical Simon; that’s just Simon all over: you can love him or hate him, but you have to admit there’s never a dull moment when Simon Barjona’s around.

Even the Master appears to find him amusing at times.  Take the nickname he has for him: Peter, “The Rock” – solid, dependable, steady, reliable.  Talk about tongue-in-cheek!  There could hardly be anyone less solid and dependable, more impulsive and unstable, than good old Simon, “The Impetuous”.

In fact, if it’s a nickname you’re after, then I daresay a better moniker for the Simon Barjona I know and love might be something along the lines of Gusto, “The Wind”: always huffing and puffing, always blustering about, never there when you need him, completely overpowering when you don’t.

Which in a way is what makes the events of that day all the more stranger.

We were visiting Caesarea Philippi with Jesus, when he asked us, “Who do people say that I am?”  [Matthew 16:13-23]

There didn’t seem to be any harm in telling him some of the weird and wonderful things people have been saying about him, so we decided to give it to him straight: “Some people are saying you’re John the Baptist returned from the dead, of all things!  Some people are saying you’re Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the other old-time prophets, come back to deliver us from the Romans.”

“But what about you?” he asked.  “Who do you say I am?”

And that’s when Simon came out with it: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!”

Now of course there’s nothing particularly unusual about Simon making a melodramatic, off-the-wall remark – it would probably be more unusual if he didn’t! – but what were unusual were Jesus’ next words: “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by God.  And I tell you, you are indeed Peter, and upon this ‘rock’ I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!”

You could have heard a pin drop.

In that moment, “Peter” wasn’t an amusing nickname anymore; “Peter” wasn’t just a private in-joke amongst The Twelve.  Suddenly, Peter was the rock that everything we’d been hoping for would be built on; Peter was the stone God would use to crush our enemies; Peter was the platform upon which we’d build our dreams.

And then he had to go and spoil it all by telling us that he was shortly to go to Jerusalem to suffer and die.

Simon was typically forthright in his opinions on the matter: “No, Lord!  I won’t let them do this to you.  I won’t let you do this to yourself!”

And Jesus’ views on the subject were equally unambiguous: “Get thee behind me, Satan!  You are an offence to me.  Your heart is set on the things of man, not on the things of God.”

So which was it?  Was Simon a rock, the recipient of insights that could only have come from God?  Or was Simon an offence, with his heart set firmly on the things of man?

In the days that have followed the events of Caesarea Philippi, I’ve done a lot of thinking about that.  And I’ve slowly come to the conclusion that the answer to both questions is, yes.

Simon is basically just a simple fisherman, the son of a fisherman, who was the son of a fisherman before him.  Simon isn’t called Barjona for nothing.  Simon is every inch “the son of Jonah”.  After all, wasn’t Jonah swallowed by the biggest darned fish of all?!

But at Caesarea Philippi, it seems to me that the “son of Jonah” was swallowed by something bigger still.  It seems to me that at Caesarea Philippi a certain “simple fisherman” caught a little more than he bargained for – a catch to rival any of his most extravagant fisherman’s tales.  It seems to me, a fisherman’s eye was needed that day, to catch a glimpse of what was hidden beneath the surface, to catch a glimpse of something extraordinary, something that was right there in front of us that every one of us had failed to see.

On more than one occasion, Jesus has been asked to prove his credentials by means of a “sign from heaven”; but whenever they ask him for a sign, he always tells them the same thing: he tells them the only sign they’ll ever get from him is the “sign of the prophet Jonah”.  [Matthew 12:38-39, 16:1-4]

Even now, as we follow him on the journey up to Jerusalem he spoke of, I don’t think any of us are really sure just what exactly this “sign of Jonah” is; but maybe, just maybe, that’s where it takes a “son of Jonah” like Simon, to grasp seemingly by instinct, what so many of us have consistently failed to comprehend.

You see, when Simon recognised the tell-tale signs of divinity in a man many of us had simply taken for a prophet and teacher, that was the moment when everything changed for me; that was the moment when everything changed for us all.

That was the moment when I finally understood – that a man like Simon, impulsive, unstable, impetuous Simon, could at the same time be solid, dependable, rock-steady Peter; not through teaching or training, not through effort, discipline or determination; but through that one glimpse he caught in Caesarea Philippi of God in the person of his Son.

Yes, one glimpse was all he caught that day, but that one glimpse turned out to be the greatest catch he ever took, probably the greatest catch in the history of the world, a catch so big that it all but tore his defences to shreds, and turned his life upside down forever.

What has all this to do with me anyhow, you ask?  What’s my interest in Simon Barjona?  Why do I seem to know so much about him?  And where did all my crazy theories about Jesus come from?

Well, I might not be a Simon, and I’m certainly no Peter, but like him, I’ll always be my father’s son; like my brother, I’ll always be a son of Jonah.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Matthew 15 – Little dogs

If you were to say to me, “Matthew 15” my immediate response would almost certainly be, “Little dogs!

How did such diverse topics manage to become so inextricably linked in my mind?

I thought you’d never ask…


It was a Parsons Drive evening, and I was parked in my usual spot under a conveniently-located lamppost, half-listening to the muffled sounds of my daughter’s music lesson coming from the house across the street.  Over the years I’ve learnt the hard way that you can’t sit reading with the interior lights on for two hours solid without risking a flat battery, an “Oh Dad!”, and a long wait for the breakdown van at the end of an already long evening.  But tonight I was fully prepared for my weekly stakeout, strategically parked under a handy streetlight, with flask in one hand and Pocket New Testament in the other, and looking forward to spending another typical evening in the life of Dad’s Ace Taxi Services.

As it happened, this evening was our first at Parsons Drive since the clocks, if not the weather, had decided it was now British Summer Time, so I wouldn’t be reading by the insipid orange glow of streetlight for a little while yet.  And as I turned to Matthew 15 and began to read, I noticed that at the far end of the street – the end which would normally be sitting in darkness by this time of day – there were a couple of lads playing football with a little dog.  I say the dog was playing football, but it was more like a game of “piggy in the middle”, with the dog very much in the role of “piggy”, and from what I could see, not likely to lay a paw on the ball anytime this side of Christmas.

But what the little dog lacked in natural ball skills, it more than made up for in enthusiasm.  Though it stood no more than six or seven inches high, it tirelessly scampered back and forth on its comical little legs, doggedly determined (no pun intended) to pursue that ball to the ends of the earth if need be, and ready to savage it mercilessly, with an anything but savage looking set of canines, if even the slightest opportunity should arise.

As I watched the one-sided competition unfolding, I found myself actually starting to root for the little guy – “Go on little dog; you can do it boy!

Then, with one eye still on the game, I decided I’d better get back to my reading, and Matthew 15, verses 21-22…

15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
15:22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

And though I’ve read the story many times, verse 23 always gets me every time…

15:23 But he answered her not a word.

Throughout his brief but intensely busy public ministry, Jesus responded to all kinds of pleas for help, in all kinds of ways, but of all his responses, this is somehow the one I never see coming – complete silence.  (Can this really be the same Jesus who by verse 30 was gladly welcoming “great multitudes” and healing “those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others”?)  And when his disciples pressed him for a response, not out of concern for the woman’s plight, but because her constant nagging was getting to be a bit of a pain (verse 23), Jesus’ words were perhaps even more surprising than his silence…

15:24 I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

But back on Parsons Drive, I was beginning to think I might have a slight inkling of what Jesus was up to.  I was thinking back to the previous chapter of Matthew, the feeding of the five thousand, and how Jesus responded then to the disciples’ bright ideas – “There’s no need for them to go; you give them something to eat!” (Matthew 14:16).  I was remembering how Jesus liked nothing better than to provoke a reaction.

Still if verse 24 is surprising, verse 26 is positively shocking.  The woman, perhaps taken aback by the coldness of her reception, had now been reduced to a desperate three-word appeal – “Lord, help me” (verse 25).  To which, Jesus answered…

15:26 It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

And back on Parsons Drive, as up and down the street the lights started to flicker on, another kind of light suddenly came on between my ears.  As I read the words of verse 26, I suddenly remembered an obscure fact I once picked up from some obscure source.  In the Greek, the word used for “dogs” can apparently be literally translated, “little dogs”.  To a contemporary audience, verse 26 would most likely conjure up an image of children and their household pets – their “little dogs”.

15:27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

At the end of the street the game was still afoot, and the little dog was still going strong – just like the woman in the story.  Did neither of them know when to call it a day?!  Apparently both of them were doggedly determined (no pun intended) to pursue their goal to the ends of the earth if need be, if that’s what it would take to come, even for one instant, within touching distance of it.

Sometimes life can give you the run-around.  And at those times when you need him most, those are often the times when God is most difficult to lay a “paw” on.  Perhaps at times, that’s the only way he can provoke a reaction.  Perhaps at times, that’s the only way of getting our attention.

But one lesson I’ve been trying to learn lately is the art of keeping my eye on the ball, of letting everything else go to the wind, but to keep my eye on that one source, that one centre, that one focus of attention.  And if the “ball” is slippery and elusive, as it inevitably will be to the comical little legs of my soul, then to learn a lesson from a little dog, and to keep after it, keep pursuing it, and never ever stop chasing it down.

15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Back on Parsons Drive, I looked up from my reading.  At the far end of the street a certain little dog was tearing into a certain football like there was no tomorrow, while a certain couple of lads made increasingly desperate but futile attempts to prise it away from him.

There’s no discouragement,” wrote Bunyan, “shall make him once relent.  It’s doubtful whether the woman of Canaan and the little dog of Parsons Drive were the kind of “pilgrims” Mr Bunyan had in mind when he penned the words of his well-known hymn – but there could hardly be a more fitting epitaph for either of them.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Matthew 14 – And the time is now past

Wikipedia has a good page on “Midlife Crisis”.  It talks about the way sufferers tend to “reassess their achievements in terms of their dreams”, and the way they tend to feel “a deep sense of remorse for goals not accomplished” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-life_crisis).

Yes, Wikipedia certainly has a good page on “Midlife Crisis”, but I think I’ve found a better one…

14:15 …This is a desert place, and the time is now past…

Whatever your attitude toward midlife crises, or the theories of modern psychology in general, whether you think it’s all just a load of meaningless psychobabble, or whether you’re too busy trying to find a way out of your own personal “desert place” to worry about what labels some shrink might want to hang on you… whatever your attitude toward midlife crises, I think everyone, whether they’re at the beginning, middle or end of life, knows that feeling of “powerlessness” described in Wikipedia, that feeling of coming to a place where there’s no road back, and no obvious way forward, where so many opportunities have passed you by, and though the dreams remain, you have no power to make them a reality, and no realistic hope that they can ever be achieved.

And in just such a “desert place”, at just such a lateness of hour, the disciples came to Jesus and said…

14:15 …the time is now past: send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.

Jesus’ characteristically impractical, completely unworkable, and totally unrealistic response was simply…

14:16 They need not depart: give ye them to eat.

The disciples, exasperated by the toe-curling naivety of the man, and perhaps wanting to rub his nose in the absurdity of what he appeared to be suggesting, plucked out a lad from the crowd (verse 17)…

Feed this lot?!  You must be joking!  With what – this kid’s packed lunch?!

Hadn’t there been opportunity enough, in the freshness of morning and the brightness of midday, for the people to “take thought for what they would eat and what they would drink”? (Matthew 6:25).  But now the “time was past”, evening was upon them, and here they all were – too late to go back, no way to go forward; plenty of big ideas, but no power to make any of them a reality.

And as the disciples stood there, waving the “loaves and fishes” in his face, Jesus just smiled and said…

14:18 …Bring them hither to me.

What the disciples did, might well have been done flippantly, but it seems that for once, they actually managed to do the right thing, the only thing, under the circumstances, they could do – they brought to Jesus what they had.

Even God can do nothing with water under the bridge.  The water that flowed by yesterday is irretrievable, even to him.  And the right thing to do – the only thing to do – is to take your two cupped hands, and plunge them deep into today’s stream – whether it be a torrent or a trickle – then scoop up a good brimming handful of what you have, and bring it to Jesus.

All the disciples had were five loaves and two fishes, but in the hands of Jesus, it became a feast for five thousand.

In Jesus’ hands, what little we have, is always more than enough.


I wake in the traffic on Curzon Street
Washed up alive on the commuter tide
This town is covered in one-way signs
I wonder why I’ve never wondered why?

(From “Planning Our Escape From Middleton” by I. Same)

Do you remember the dreams of youth?

Do you remember what you said about the “rush-hour clones” – the identical commuters, with their identical suits, their identical jobs, their identical mortgages, and their identical 2.4 children?

Do you remember how you always said that wasn’t the life for you?

There’s a special plan and purpose for everyone,” you said, “a ‘road less travelled’ for everyone to take.

All you need is the guts and imagination to go out and find it!

Do you remember the glorious dreams of youth?

Perhaps Peter was young enough to remember those dreams, as he stepped over the side of the boat, and suddenly, ridiculously! gloriously! found himself walking on the water to Jesus.

We don’t know how far Peter got before reality started to set in, but somewhere between the end of verse 29 and the beginning of verse 30, it seems the precariousness of his situation came home to roost with a vengeance, and there he was – too late to go back, no way to go forward; plenty of big ideas, but no power to make them a reality.

14:30 …when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid: and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

What Peter did, might well have been done out of panic and desperation, but it seems that for once,  he actually managed to do the right thing, the only thing, under the circumstances, he could do – he brought to Jesus what he had.

What he had was a classic case of powerlessness in the face of his dreams.  And though that was all he had to offer, in the hands of Jesus, apparently that was more than enough…

14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him…

Even God can do nothing about the road we’ve travelled thus far – whether we turned onto it by accident or by design, whether we chose our path or it chose us – water under the bridge is irretrievable even to him.  And the right thing to do – the only thing to do – is to reach out your hand, get a good firm hold on the hand of Jesus, and walk with him down today’s road – whether it be humdrum or “boisterous” – walk with him, and let his presence transform every road into a “road less travelled”, a road of endless possibilities, just waiting to be discovered at the end of every “Curzon Street”.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Matthew 13 – Buried treasure

No, you’ve not picked up a copy of everybody’s favourite Robert Louis Stevenson yarn, by mistake.

Believe it or not, Matthew 13 really does appear to be about the unlikely subject of (yo ho ho, shiver me timbers and X marks the spot!) buried treasure.

This comes out most clearly in verse 44…

13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field…

But the idea of hidden treasure, of something small and easily overlooked, but bursting with hidden potential, is alluded to again and again throughout the chapter.

Even the form of teaching employed by Jesus in Matthew 13 – which is jam-packed with parables from start to finish – is in itself a kind of “treasure hunt” for truth.  For what might appear to be simple, folksy stories on the surface, again and again show themselves to be bursting with the deepest moral and spiritual truths, to anyone with “ears to hear” (verse 9).

Not that parables were everyone’s cup of tea, it seems.  In fact, some of the disciples apparently felt it necessary to interrupt Jesus’ teaching, right in the middle of his exposition of the Parable of the Sower, right in front of the “great multitudes” hanging on his every word, in order to have a quiet word in his ear about the whole, increasingly frustrating, parable “situation” (verse 10)…

Why do you always have to teach the crowds in parables?” they duly inquired.  Why don’t you just stop beating about the bush, and speak to them in plain Aramaic for once?!

But how do you express the inexpressible, or describe the indescribable, or unearth that long-sought-after heavenly treasure that even “prophets and righteous men” (verse 17) have never fully grasped?

Well, in Matthew 13, Jesus began with a “sower” and his seed.

And the seed fell to the ground, small and easily overlooked, but bursting with hidden potential.  And the seed was the “word of the kingdom” – the seed was Christ the “Word”, Christ the “express image” of God – hidden in the often shallow, and often thorny, ground of my life (verses 3-9 and 18-23).

And a seed, like all living things, tends to have a habit of growing – buried in the dark, hidden from every eye – a seed will grow.  Winter seasons will come, and the seed will lie dormant, till it seems barely a spark of life remains.  But as the seasons turn, the hope of new life will once again spring eternal; and only as I rise on that first glorious morning of summer, will it truly be revealed what kind of tree I’ve been cultivating in the “secret places” of my heart.

Like the “mustard seed” of verse 31 – the “least of all seeds”, but “when it is grown”, the “greatest” of trees with birds singing in its branches.

Like the yeast (leaven) of verse 33 – just a couple of handfuls mixed into a batch of dough, but enough to raise a dozen loaves and more.

Like the “children of the kingdom” of verse 38, the “righteous” of verse 43, who “shine forth as the sun” in the kingdom of heaven – because of their “good works”? – because of the “works of righteousness which [they] have done”?  (Titus 2:7, 3:5).  No, because of the “good seed” of verse 37, sown by the “Son of man”, which they have nurtured, unseen, in their hearts.

Which brings us back in a round about way to our “treasure hid in a field”.

Jesus tells us about a man who, on discovering the field’s true value, went off and sold all that he had in order to buy it.

Unlike the man, I can never see with my own eyes, or touch with my own hands, the “treasure” of Christ, which I’ve come to believe is “hidden” within me.  Am I, nevertheless, prepared to bank all on that “treasure”, that “one pearl of great price” (verse 46), and give all that I have in order to possess it?

Bizarrely, where treasure is concerned, perhaps I have more in common with a certain one-legged rascal named Silver, than the man who bought the field.  For, despite all his eyes had never seen, and all his hands had never touched, wasn’t our reckless pirate friend prepared to venture all on a single X, scrawled on a makeshift map?  Whilst the man who bought the field did so with the glitter of gold still fresh in his eyes, and the feel of his new-found wealth still fresh on his fingers.


In Isaiah 36, the Assyrian “envoy” came to Jerusalem with a “great army” and a message for King Hezekiah (verses 4, 7 and 14)…

What confidence is this in which you trust?  Don’t tell me you still trust in that God of yours?  He will not be able to deliver you!

And though I may not be besieged by great armies, there are times when the Assyrian envoy’s words ring just as loudly in my ears, when it feels like the “treasure” on which I’ve banked all, amounts to little more than childish stories, parables, and fairy-tales for dreamers and romantics, who ought to be old enough to know better.

And there I stand with my world-weary scepticism on the one hand, and the stories and parables of Matthew 13 painted like a big red X right across the other – stories that don’t try to argue or persuade, but simply mark out the spot, point out the way, and constantly challenge me to lay aside every doubt and venture all in order to obtain all – “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

So hoist up the mainsail, me hearties!  Take one last look at them thar harbour lights, them thar lights of hearth and home.  Then take a good, long look at this here map, and this here X.  ‘Cause it’s for Treasure Island we be bound this day, boys – for Treasure Island, I say!  And neither wind nor wave, tide nor tempest, shall stand in our way!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Matthew 12 – No sign

In Matthew 12, certain Scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus asking him to show them a “sign” (verse 38).

Perhaps they wanted to see one of his famous trademark miracles with their own eyes – a lame man walking, a blind man seeing, or if they really got lucky, and the rumours of Jairus’ daughter were anything to go by, perhaps even a bona fide raising-from-the-dead.

Perhaps they had something a little more personal in mind, and they were expecting some kind of supernatural endorsement of their own position of religious authority, right in front of the crowds of “ordinary” people who, let’s face it, need to be reminded who’s boss every now and again.

Perhaps they had much bigger fish to fry, and were looking for Jesus to “restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6), put the “heathen” in their place, and “command fire to come down from heaven, and consume [the lot of] them [!]” (Luke 9:54).

Jesus’ answer to all such demands for a “sign” was…

12:39 …An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

It seems the only sign he had to offer them – the only sign he could offer an expectant world – was not liberation from oppression and persecution, an end to corruption and hypocrisy in high places, the eradication of sickness, death and disease…

It seems the only sign he had to offer was the sign of Jonah (Jonas), the sign of his own exposure to the most brutal oppression and persecution, the sign of his own run-in with corruption and hypocrisy in high places, the sign of his own suffering and death.

12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.


In John 6, the crowds whom Jesus had miraculously fed out of a “lad’s” meagre lunchbox, tracked him down again the next day and asked him (verse 30), “What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee?”

Jesus in effect replied (verse 26), “You don’t want a sign, you want a meal ticket!”

You have to smile at the totally shameless persistence of them: “We like you Jesus.  You’ve got real potential.  Some of us are ready to take you right now and make you king by force if need be (verse 15).  But God gave our ancestors manna to eat in the desert (verse 31), and if you’re really who you claim to be, you need to start putting your money where our mouths are!”

You also have to smile at the endlessly longsuffering love of Jesus: “If you people want a meal ticket, I’ll give you a meal ticket!  For I am indeed your meal ticket.  I am the true bread of life.  Come to me and eat this bread – my body broken for you – and you will never hunger again (verses 35 and 51), and I will be in you (verses 56-58), and by me you will live forever!”

And John tells us that “from that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (verse 66).

Because it seems the only sign he had to offer them was the sign of Jonah, the sign of his broken body, the sign of his death.


What sign do I come to Jesus, “seeking after”?

Do I want some kind of supernatural endorsement of the work I’ve taken on for him?  Deep down, do I secretly fear that there’s more of ambition than devotion in it?  Deep down, do I fear the only person I’ve ever really served is… myself?

Do I hanker after the “signs” of his presence, the peace he gives, the assurance, the confidence?

Do I want to see signs of his transforming power in me, making me a better, nicer person, more patient, more kind, more caring, more considerate?

Do I find myself standing at the crossroads, looking out on an uncertain and somewhat daunting future, without a road-sign in sight, or a satnav even remotely capable of pointing out the way?

Do I come to Jesus “seeking after a sign”, and find that the only sign he has to offer me is the sign of Jonah, the sign of his death?

If I’ve been “seeking after a sign” and find that “no sign is given me”, perhaps it’s just that I’ve been looking for all the wrong signs in all the wrong places.  Perhaps the only sign I really need has already been given me, was given me two thousand years ago, on a hill outside Jerusalem.  Perhaps, as I take the true bread of life, as he becomes one with me, as I become identified with his death, and yet by him live forever, perhaps then my whole life becomes a “sign” – a sign to others, but mostly a sign to myself – a sign of what life could be, of what life should be, of how God can take the most meagre of “lunchboxes”, and make it a feast to last for all eternity.


Psalm 119 seems to say in half a verse more than I could ever hope to articulate with all my “much speaking”…

119:17 …that I may live, and keep thy word.

God’s sign to us, is a sign in us.

His sign is that I simply live my life, with all its ups and downs, its triumph and disaster, and live it keeping alongside him, keeping in step with him, keeping true to his life in me.

To live, and keep living out the life of Christ, which is in me.

To live, keeping in perfect time with his life in me, while he “improvises” something uniquely beautiful around the simple, steady “theme” of my life.

Perhaps, if I were to truly see a sign like that in my life, then I’d be forced to agree that one sign can indeed be the only sign anyone ever really needs.