1 Peter 3:18-22 is sometimes used as a scriptural text which addresses the Harrowing of Hell (when, according to tradition, Jesus preached to the dead who had not had an opportunity to hear the gospel between His death and resurrection). The bad news is that 1 Peter does not really lend itself to that interpretation as obviously as other passages in the Pauline writings. 1 peter seems to be tied rather to the story of Noah. But what relevance has that for today. Not much, unless we follow the clue left by the writer of 1 Peter, in which he uses the image of the ark as a typology for baptism. If this approach is taken, the account of proclaiming to the spirits in heaven becomes an indictment of damaging and harmful ideologies, which are revealed to be ultimately powerless by the Risen Christ.
Picture from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Follower_of_Jheronimus_Bosch_-_The_Harrowing_of_Hell.jpg
Please find attached here a pastoral letter from Bishop Peter to all members of the Diocese….
In 1 Cor. 9, Paul reminds us of our obligation to preach the good news. In keeping with a thread that runs throughout the letter, he also points out that taking pride in engaging in evangelistic work is contrary to the spirit of this obligation. Michael Ayrton’s imaginary lesser demon, Tittivulus (The Verbiage Collector), is a useful character to introduce at this point.
Imagine him turning up whenever vain tenors (or sopranos) sing not to the glory of God,but for themselves, and preachers wallow in the delights of their own rhetoric. And that’s before we get to those Christians who take such care to record and recount just how many hours they spend on church work, often meticulously itemised in electronic diaries or in the old days, the ever-present filofax….
Better leave it there, before the tiny, tufty tail of Tittivulus and his sack of collected verbiage twitch… Continue reading →
Jesus’ name means “God saves”, but what does this mean? If we think of salvation primarily as “Jesus died for my sins so I can get to heaven” we risk putting ourselves at the centre of a very diminished picture of what God is doing. It’s not just about “me”, it’s about “us”. Still not good enough…
No, it’s not just about “us”, it’s about God making the good world he has made even better. It’s about the kingdom coming on earth, not about us escaping to heaven.If we do not recognise this, we do not recognise how we are called to proclaim God’s plan and glory, so others may understand truly what a “new creation is about”.
After all, there are lots of other claimants who say they are all about a new , better order (both from the left and the right)…But these have never delivered, and usually… Continue reading →