Thursday 23 February 2012

In like a lion, out like a lamb!

This is a copy of my church magazine article for March 2012

Popular wisdom says that ‘March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.’

Of course, that proverb refers to the weather, and I guess it’s true that the month often begins with gales roaring in, and ends much more gently.

It got me thinking about the lion and the lamb. We know that the lion is pretty much at the top of the food chain, and the lamb would be fair game! When the boy David went to King Saul and offered to fight Goliath, he told the king of his qualifications for the job: ‘Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it’ (1 Samuel 17:34-35). It confirms what we know: left to their own devices, lions will kill and eat lambs! It points to a reality in our world: that the powerful tend to take advantage of the vulnerable, the rich becoming richer and the poor, poorer.

Yet the Bible points us to a different vision of how things one day will be! The prophet Isaiah speaks the word of the Lord: ‘Behold I will create new heavens and a new earth’ (Isaiah 65:17). As the chapter unfolds, we find that this re-creation involves fruitful and peaceful lives for all, and that lamb and wolf will lie down together, whilst the lion will eat straw like the ox. What we call the natural order of things will be overturned! One day!

I think that God calls us towards that vision now. He calls us to reduce the disparity and bridge the gap. One organization seeking to do that in Peterborough is ‘Hope into Action’. Their director, Ed Walker, will be sharing with us on 11th March about how they are providing homes for ex-offenders and homeless people. We will find out how we can be a part of that. Another organization is our own Inspirations Studio, seeking to provide opportunities and support for young people in the city of Peterborough. Stuart Mathers would be glad to receive your offer of help with that.

What more of the lion and the lamb? Revelation 5 brings the two together. The risen Christ is both Lion and Lamb. He is fierce and gentle. He overcomes the disparities that exist in the world by his atoning sacrifice. He is God’s chosen instrument of re-creation.

Perhaps lion and lamb, fierce and gentle, is what we should be in serving God in His world? We should be confronting injustice and inequality, but doing it tenderly and with love!

Be fierce and gentle for Christ!

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