Thanks be to God
Sir, My response to your Letters page this week was, “Thanks be to God!” – thanks that I was introduced to the Christian faith by people who believed that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, that his words and example are the revelation to the world of the nature and purposes of God and that his teaching is aimed at me.
Many of your correspondents this week appear to place Jesus well down the list of spiritual leaders: they disregard his main message as to what we should learn from such events as the disaster recorded in Luke 13 and the fall of the towers, they forget his admonition to cast out the plank in our own eye before attempting to remove the splinter from others’ and ignore his parable of the Pharisee and the publican who went up to the temple to pray. Of course, we all need to repent many of our actions and aspects of our lives, but it is imperative that each one examine his or her own conscience before we confidently identify the sins of our neighbours and blame them accordingly for our current problems. I have never forgotten the words of The Rev Humphrey Beaver, conducting the three-hour vigil one Good Friday in the early 1950s: “It was not the sins of the flesh which put our Lord up there, on the cross, but the sins of pride, greed and hypocrisy.” I believe he was right.
I have never heard it suggested that the Pharisees, Sadducees, Caiaphas, Pilate, et al. were practising homosexuals.
I cannot understand how so many of your correspondents appear to value the words of (eg) Amos, Isaiah and even Paul more highly than those of Jesus and prefer the “You have heard it said...” letter of the law to “But I say unto you...” promise of the fulfilment, not the destruction, of the spirit of that law.
The story of Noah shows us the God of power whose purpose is to save and redeem us from ourselves, rather than the projected quick-to-takeoffence god on a short fuse who has been used by the powerful and self-righteous to exalt themselves and subdue the humble believer from earliest times.
I have found that young people who are “too grown up” to take the story of Noah’s ark, with its pairs of tigers, penguins, elephants and polar bears seriously, become very thoughtful when they realize that “the whole world” can mean only the whole of the known world at the time of any event or story, and are ready, then, to believe in God’s saving power.
I can see why many of my pupils used to accuse Christians of having “created God in our own image.” If that is what we have done, then we need to repent.
Mary P Roe,