The weekend is here. It's been a bit frantic this week so only a short blog today. I hope to post the next blog in the current series over the weekend and then the last in the series on God on Monday! I am sorry if you have been experiencing some technical difficulties this week. Hopefully, all is back to normal now!
I have just got back from another assembly. I take assemblies at one particular school every Friday, and this term we have been going through characters in the Old Testament. You know the sort of thing: Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua and so on. This is where the Benevolent God and much modern day Christianity really comes off the rails. God slaughtering people or ordering their slaughter. The people of God taking over the promised land and destroying cities. You may remember it from Sunday School days. You probably haven't heard much about it in Church recently.
Today it was Elijah. The people of Israel have been engaging in some inter-faith dialogue. They have been trying to be sensitive to the culture in which they live and understand the faith of the people around them. So much so that they have been incorporating some of the insights from contemporary religion into their own. Elijah, who let's face it is something of a a reactionary, challenges them and accuses them of forsaking their own faith and betraying the one true God.
They have a show down. Elijah challenges them to a religious competition. Elijah wins and all the leaders of the oppostion are slaughtered. Read all about it in 1 King 18. It is ages since I last spoke on this passage and it is with some embarrassment that I find myself telling the story now. It doesn't fit somehow. This sort of thing is not supposed to happen. This is not what we believe about God. No wonder we take refuge in the New Testament.
Until that is we come across verses like this from St Matthew 13:40-43:
'Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!'
Much to our discomfort it sounds as if Jesus wouldn't be excessively uncomfortable with Elijah's approach. Perhaps yet another signpost indicating we are going in the wrong direction.
Have a good weekend!