Friday, 25 July 2014

Machine code?

Karen and I have been away on holiday recently. We spent a fascinating time on Orkney crawling in and out of the various Neolithic mounds which pepper the islands and everyone was very welcoming.

Though we didn't intend to, we visited two very different churches on adjacent Sundays, firstly at St Magnus's Cathedral in Kirkwall and yesterday when visiting relatives I called in to a local United Reformed Church in Malvern.

It was this last visit which has made me think. The URC was much less grand than St Magnus's, nevertheless, the speaker made me stop and think in ways I have never done before. The basic reading was a fairly well trodden one - whether we have the self esteem or not to view ourselves as the offspring of a creator God. It is a very often visited theme for me (since I have church members with a puzzling low sense of self worth), but what I heard made me sit up and take notice....

(She said)....  "Most people in church do not see themselves as children, but as machines. It is clear from the language we revert to instinctively, it is the language of industrialisation." (She said) In all my years in the church, I have never been invited to the birthing of a dream but only to the launching of projects

We speak of getting "geared up" ...................

of things "running down" ........................

of "oiling the wheels".......................

of things running like a "well oiled machine"..............

She said that she was once referred to (by a Bishop) as being "a cog in the church machine"

The implications are astounding.

The New Testament has a very different picture, instead of being part of a machine, we are described as being a part of a body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you" etc

......................  "You are the body of Christ, and individually members of it"

The teaching is one of a body. We have a saying - "do not cut off your nose to spite your face" have you heard it. It says that whether we like each other or not, we belong together, Jesus' teaching in John chapter 17, praying that his people would be one illustrate this perfectly. We are not machines, we are flesh and blood, when one hurts we all hurt, when one bleeds we all bleed. When one feels good and has something to celebrate - the birth of a child, a wedding anniversary, a fresh enlightenment, we should all rejoice.

I don't know about you but the older I get the more battered my body feels. I can't abuse it as I did when I was younger, I take longer to recover and I feel the aches and pains more, and that is the same with us all, we ache , we hurt, we may not like each other, but we do belong together.

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