Morning, Julia here.
A while ago, a friend and I developed an excellent game we call a “Fact off”. You have to take it in turns to share a neat bit of trivia you know. The winner is the one who can keep going longest. We never actually got to the end of a game- turns out we know a LOT of irrelevant information!
Today’s task: what is a neat fact you know? I’ll start: warthogs can jump 4 metres.
Thank you for a lovely mini Fact Off. It’s much better than what I’m now used to – unfortunately I chose to lovingly introduce the game to my family one Christmas, and my partner and brother took great delight in ruining it with stupid facts like “I have a green sock”, or “You are finding me annoying”. At least they enjoyed the Fact Off, even if they enjoyed it wrong.
Anyway, one of my favourite facts is about octopuses. (Octopi?)
You know how you can’t actually imagine a new colour? Which can lead us humans to believe that there are no more colours to imagine. Well apparently, octopuses can see more colours than humans can! They’ve got more cones that detect colour.
I love this fact – I freely admit I am no expert, but to me that suggests there are more colours in the world than we will ever see. There is so much more to the world than we can ever have the capacity to understand. And I love that – I think it’s really exciting.
In the gospels, there are many example the Pharisees and religious leaders thinking they understand the law/Scriptures, but then with Jesus coming along and saying there is more to it, or they have misunderstood. In many places, it can be seen that the Pharisees’ way of life and strict regulations are a product of traditions and long lists of rules being developed over the years, in ways that prioritised the wrong things and misunderstood the point: to love God.
Time and time again, Jesus’ explanation told a different story.
‘You were only told “an eye for an eye” as a first step, to stop the common occurrence of retaliation escalating out of hand – the real message is to forgive.’
‘The Sabbath day of rest isn’t designed to restrict people; it’s to look after their well-being.’
As well as what Jesus said, there was also what he did. His manner of relating to people also told a hugely different story to the Pharisees. As Jesus met with people Pharisees would shun, Jesus approached them with an overt lack of judgement, and abundance of grace. Those who witnessed it were often shocked. Jesus went to a lot of parties.
I would argue that the phenomenon of Pharisees has not gone away. Both individuals and representatives of organisations can be so rigid about rules, theories or opinions, that the message of God’s love is obscured, or even lost. There are times I find myself feeling distant from the Church (capital C) because there are parts of me, and people I love, that people within the Church condemn, in ways that have caused people great pain. The complete opposite of what the Church is intended to be.
My Dave was in a conversation the other day with someone who became very irate. This person had a particular theological view about how the cross saves people, and thought anyone who disagreed with this atonement theory wasn’t ‘Christian’. I am not convinced it works like that…
Actually, whatever theories and rules we might adhere to, God has got it covered. There is way more to the world than I have the capacity to understand. God has far more love and grace than we have the capacity to comprehend.
And I think this is something of great comfort, because it is out of our hands. God’s love is enough for us, for all of us, without the need to explain everything within human limitations.
There is hope in the wonder of not understanding, because it points to something more than ourselves. And as humans, I think we have an inherent talent for not understanding, and therefore we are the ideal archetype for having hope.
Where does that leave us?
Firstly, it leaves us secure in the hope God has given us, that his love and grace has transcended all expectations in the past and will continue to do so.
Secondly, we are released from any perquisite to judge or justify whether people “deserve” it, but just to concentrate on loving each other.
That’s it from me! Have a good day everyone!