Cycling ‘n’ CME

I Got the route correct this time!! Cycling as I was to Mold for CME, expecting great things on Mark’s Gospel, (and we got them) Dick France, a former principle of Wycliffe hall, writer etc was really quite engaging, and without all the new fangled toys that often appear at these days!!

He was particularly interesting on ‘The Kingdom of God’ which, he bemoans, is so often shortened to ‘The Kingdom’ or even ‘Kingdom … ‘  Suggesting that ‘The Kingdom’ in the current understanding of the phrase relates to a place, but the word derives from its old usage that of kingship or reign.  He was challenged with a question on charismatic ‘signs and wonders’ ‘of The Kingdom’ and if there were not to be located in someplace how could we see them etc.  I found this very strange, clearly he did too as he stressed his usage of the phrase Kingdom of God, rather than its shortening and actually prefering ‘Kingship of God’ as it doesn’t refer to a place.

If I had been quick enough, and I guess that is why I like to cycle home – time to think – I might have said that the question where is the Kingdom, ie signs and wonders is the wrong question.  Trying to locate ‘The Kingdom’ or signs of it with where questions kind of misses the point I feel.  I have not really ever thought of  ‘The Kingdom of God’ as a ‘where’, but a ‘what’.  It boils down to the same as ‘Where’, or ‘What’ is ‘God’ Dick suggested that if you must shorten the phrase then to shorten it the other way, i.e. God, rather than kingdom.

When you start asking ‘What is God?’ rather than ‘Where is God?’ or ‘What are the signs of the Kingdom of God‘ you get a far different answer.   Start taking a closer interest in what is around you rather than searching out the great lightning bolts.  You can then start to locate God in everything from the greatest marvel of creation to the simple hug shared between friends.

Oscar Wilde said:

“It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.”

Therefore we just have to open our eyes and see…

Tuesday

I’ve been a little bemused since Tuesday.  I could have done with two of them, one for what I did do and one for everything that was put on hold because of it.  Not that the content of the CME day with Nigel Biggar on Ethics particularly bad or uninteresting, it was the opposite of both of those.  It was partly my stubbornness in cycling to the event and getting it badly wrong, as the map indicates!!, and partly the atmosphere that I was greeted with. (if I had gone the right way it was only 9 miles away the extra hills and few more miles were rather annoying)

I really wasn’t prepared for a room full of clergy, well what do expect at these events other than that, so I really do have myself to blame, however, after lunch, chatting, I commented that ‘I’ve never been quite so optimistic about death’ It must have been the atmosphere of 80 or so clergy deadening the mood, They aren’t all boring by any stretch of the imagination, I guess it was the full effect of seeing the institution in full flow, one car per cleric in the car park and the realisation that anything imaginative would be judged by this peer group as to it’s church-related-ness rather than it’s soulfulness.

The Wrong Sandals

It is an unfortunate day when you rush out to the morning services on your trusty steed with inappropriate footware – in my case the wrong sandals.  I was wearing the old, brown, garden, lazy sunday afternoon sandals with little in the way of sole and relatively no connection to the feet!

This would have been no problem, except that it poured down and, them being old etc, were becoming slippery underfoot.  Of course you would have had to be there – ‘there’ being on the road between Holywell and Greenfield between 10.40 and 10.50.  Not much chance of that!  However if you had you would have seen a late curate slipping and sliding down the hill (on the bike) trying to keep his feet firmly on the pedals.  I, and the few intrepid dog walkers who I happened to pass found this highly amusing!!