A selection of writings by Clarence Jordan titled The Inconvenient Gospel is not a long read, but I don’t want to read it too quickly.
Everything seems quotable.

You can’t put Christianity into practice. You can’t make it work.As desperately as it is needed in this poor, broken world it is not a philosophy of life to be “tried.” Nor is it a social or ethical ideal which has tantalised humankind with the possibility of attainment.
For Christianity is not a system you work – it is a person who works you. You don’t get it; he gets you.

Clarence Jordan, The Inconvenient Gospel, Plough Publishing House, 2022, pg. 1.

I bought a copy of The Son Of Laughter by Frederick Buechner years ago at a second-hand bookstore.
I’ve been reading it on and off over the last year or so, but am committed to finishing it this time.
It is a literary retelling of the narrative of Jacob/Israel from Genesis.
There is an earthy courseness to Buechner’s prose that rings true, though it is disquieting to read this familiar narrative punctuated with details that are alien and yet ring as an authentic representation of the age in which the story is set.

In all of that there is one sentence in particular that has stayed in my mind since reading it.
It comes from a scene set in the aftermath of Jacob’s imagined dealing with his sons as a result of the atrocity they committed upon the men of Shechem.
As the punishment of his sons Simeon and Levi appears to be reaching a point at which their lives are in jeopardy, Leah interposes, not on their behalf as much as on behalf of Jacob himself.
“It is yourself you are killing, Jacob”…”A woman can outlive her children and stay alive inside herself, but when a man’s sons die, the man dies with them. Even if he lives to father other sons, inside himself he is dead. Many times I have seen it happen, Jacob.”

I don’t know if this is true; I guess it feels half true at least as far as the part about the man goes.
I don’t know if it’s half true and half false and the part about woman is wrong while the part about men is true.
But I’d prefer to think that the statement about women is true, just to think they are spared in some way from that inner death.
I’d hope the statement about men is wrong also, but I just don’t know at the moment.

I realise it is an expression of fictional speculation, and not a word of authoritative truth.
Like I said, it’s just a phrase in a book that haunts me presently.

Visiting a church in Sydney this evening I got to unexpectedly meet an old friend, meet a new one, hear an interesting sermon, oand sing a range of songs including this one from 1996.
Bryson Smith and Philip Percival’s At The Cross.
I didn’t really expect to find a track of this but here’s one from YouTube, a nice piano and vocal recording.

The lyrics:
At the cross God demonstrates His love for us
While we were sinners Jesus came to die
So by His blood we could be justified
At the cross God demonstrates that He is just
Unpunished sins could not be overlooked
So Jesus took them on Himself
So be not ashamed of the cross
It brings salvation to all who believe
God is revealed guilt is removed
Forgiveness can now be received
So be not ashamed of the cross
Tell of its power to all who will hear
Great is our joy glory is ours
From death we can now be set free
At the cross God demonstrates His endless grace
He chose to send His precious only Son
To punish Him for sins we’ve done

Words and Music: Bryson Smith | Philip Percival

© Words: 1996 Emu Music Australia, Inc.
Music: 1996 Percival, Philip (Admin. by Philip Gordon Percival)

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 6

Q. Why must he be a true and righteous man?
A. Because God’s righteousness requires that man who has sinned should make reparation for sin, but the man who is himself a sinner cannot pay for others.

Q. Why must he at the same time be true God?
A. So that by the power of his divinity he might bear as a man the burden of God’s wrath, and recover for us and restore to us righteousness and life.

Q. Who is this mediator who is at the same time true God and a true and perfectly righteous man?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is freely given to us for complete redemption and righteousness.

Q. Whence do you know this?
A. From the holy gospel, which God himself revealed in the beginning in the Garden of Eden, afterward proclaimed through the holy patriarchs and prophets and foreshadowed through the sacrifices and other rites of the Old Covenant, and finally fulfilled through his own well-beloved Son.

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