Saturday, 29 October 2011

Reading the Bible in the Light of Jesus

Last night, we participated in a session discussing reading the Bible after Christendom. However, reading Revelation 1:7 this morning and Barclay's commentary, I am seeing how New Testament writers read the Old Testament in the light of Jesus.

Barclay refers to a passage in Zechariah 12 which talks of looking on a person who they had pierced. Barclay sees this passage as being behind John's words in this verse when John says “the people who pierced him will see him.” Zechariah was talking in a different context and to a different people but the message is consistent. God's servant has been rejected but at some point his message will be seen as true. At this point, the people will repent and lament for their actions.

I struggle to write what I am thinking in terms of economics but as I look at the reported evidence of increasing inequality, I see it as more important that we shift to a need based reward rather than a reward based on perceived value of the contribution. I think here of the New testament story of the vineyard paid all his workers the same amount regardless of when the started work in the day (Matthew 20:1-16). When will those living in luxury because of their high reward packages repent and look upon the damage that they have done and mourn?

How do we wrestle power away from highly paid CEOs and bankers so that the system can serve the needs of the people and creation rather than the pockets of the wealthy?

In our next cycle of Peacechurch sessions, I am to lead a session on economic grace. Is it God's grace that he does not judge the wealthy but cares for the poor? But how do I help people to focus on meeting need without concern for self? How do I put this into practice myself?

The occupy movement is being told to move on from Victoria Square in Birmingham and from outside St Pauls in London. Although I have sympathy for the movement, I haven't visited their camp or shown my support.

I find it interesting that the Anglican hierarchy in London is saying the movement has made their point and should move on. If they accept that the movement has made its point then they should act to address the issues but what they are saying is let us get on with our business, we don't want to hear your message.

Birmingham City Council is saying a similar message to the occupy movement here. They are saying we want the square for public events (i.e. our commercial street market). Our earning potential or lose is more important than changing in response to the message.

I think here is a sense in which the church leaders and civic leaders say that the message isn't about us, it is about the bankers. In other words, they haven't really heard the message or understand the significance of what is being said.

Will this be a situation where the leadership of the Anglican church and the Birmingham City Council will look upon those whom they rejected and tried to move on and repent?

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