I saw The Good Shepherd by Kenneth Bailey mentioned on one of the blogs on my feed reader.
It’s now on my acquisitions list.
Some observations by the author:
“For nearly fifty years, Middle Eastern shepherds with their flocks were a part of the larger context in which I grew up and then lived and taught the New Testament,”
“It was my privilege to have laymen and clergy in three countries as my students who had herded sheep for extended periods in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
“Regarding the good shepherd, the Bible invites its readers on a thousand-year theological journey that can be likened to a movie consisting of nine major episodes. Anyone who enters the movie theater in the middle of the showing of a film may find the scene on display of interest—like watching a preview of some ‘coming attractions.’ Yet the viewer knows that the full story can only be understood when one views the film from the beginning to the end.”
Zac Hicks on corporate worship as true mission activity, perhaps in contrast to being evangelistic activity.
The symbiotic relationship between worship and mission means, first of all, that it would be unthinkable to ever replace corporate, gathered worship with missional acts of evangelism and community service, just as it would be unthinkable to remove a heart and simply tie the remaining veins and arteries together. Missional momentum halts when the heart of worship is removed. Second, if your church is struggling to be a truly missional body, worship must be a very real place of examination. Is the gospel clear and present in worship, or is it crowded out by other things? Ironically, our quest for a more evangelistic worship service, friendly and easy to swallow for non-Christians, has often muted the gospel in worship, rendering the service impotent of missional, transformative power. While we should always strive for worship to be intelligible and understandable to non-Christians, nothing short of prizing the gospel and making much of Jesus will create the kind of awe-inspiring zeal in the church that causes the watching world to cry, “God is really among you!” (1 Corinthians 14:25).
The Worship Pastor, Zac Hicks, Zondervan, 2016, pg 100.
Zac Hicks writes about corporate worship training and equipping disciples of Jesus for their day to day life following Christ.
Part of [the church Hicks was attending at the time] weekly service structure was a rehearsal of repentance, a Confession of Sin and an Assurance of Pardon. Week in and week out, we would have a time in our service where we publicly spoke out a congregational confession, followed by a time of silent confession for each individual. These confessions were followed by the pastor declaring a scriptural assurance of our pardon, telling us our sins were forgiven because of the work of Jesus. Over time these weekly routines wore ruts into my soul, and I’d find them graciously haunting me the other six days of the week. I noticed that when I would stumble into sin, I had new instincts and a new inclination to confess my sin to God and preach to myself – really, to hear the Spirit preach to me – one of the verses the pastor would recite. I’d hear in my head and heart the words from our Sunday service: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 ESV) Our weekly worship gatherings were teaching me how to repent and apply the gospel to my daily life any and every time the waves of guilt would hit me.
The Worship Pastor, Zac Hicks, Zondervan, 2016, pp 57-58.
I read Watership Down over forty years ago or so.
The edition I read had a cover like the one pictured here.
It was an evocative piece of fantasy fiction. About rabbits.
Far cooler than Harry Potter.
There was an animated movie that featured Art Garfunkel’s song Bright Eyes.
I even remember an episode of The Goodies that spoofed its plot.
It’s author, Richard Adams died at the age of 96. Hardly an untimely victim of the curse of 2016.
The website dedicated to the book, and Adams’ other works published this quote from Watership Down in a post confirming his death:
‘It seemed to Hazel that he would not be needing his body any more, so he left it lying on the edge of the ditch, but stopped for a moment to watch his rabbits and to try to get used to the extraordinary feeling that strength and speed were flowing inexhaustibly out of him into their sleek young bodies and healthy senses.
“You needn’t worry about them,” said his companion. “They’ll be alright – and thousands like them.”’
This happens to me a lot.
(image appropriated from internet)