Wednesday, 31 December 2014

On the seventh day of Christmas ...

Apple having put aside their Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway this year has given me the chance to get people thinking, praying, learning, listening (to some great music) and finding app's they might not have otherwise done: Day Seven ...

The Church
Well, my church anyway, is remembering John Wyclif(fe), a man who caught my imagination as a twenty something year old newbie Christian thanks to a mention of him (and Tyndale) in a sermon. Interestingly Tyndale was both misquoted and taken out of context with the words:

'The lowliest plough boy with the Bible in his own language will know more of God's will than the highest cleric in the land!' 

Words that were then used to support Wyclif's own words:

'Moses heard God's law in his own tongue; so did Christ's apostles. Englishmen learn Christ's law best in English.'

Here we have a Yorkshireman whom many of those I know from Leicestershire claim as their own whilst others see him as being from County Durham. What it is to be popular!

But the reality is that here we have a man who is theologian and translator of the Bible (New Testament at first) into English who unlike Tyndale (who was strangled and burned at the stake) had a stroke whilst saying Mass on Holy Innocents' Day, 28 December 1384 and died on the 31st December. Mind you - his body was later dug up almost thirty years later and he was denounced as a heretic and excommunicated from the church. His remains were burned and the ashes ended up being scattered in the River Swift (where, oddly, I fish from time to time).

Rumour has it that Wyclif remains silent throughout!

This is a man who was a strong leader, a fine theologian and a good priest (what more can anyone ask?) and rightly is remembered, and honoured, today as the 'bright morning star' of the Reformation for it was him (and others like him) who set laid the track that would, a couple of year's later, bring the changes that Luther and others are so praised (or despised) for.

Would that we had more like him with us today.

Requiescat in pace

The World
Is busying itself with The end of an old year and the beginning of something new.

Around 50% of us will be making resolutions to be or do or have something or other!

Around 5% of the population will actually keep their resolution; that's a 'one in ten success rate'!

Many years ago I mad a resolution never to make resolutions and for some thirty plus years I have managed to keep that resolution; not a bad hit rate I reckons/

Just like those who have been given diaries which are written in at first and then scribbled in occasionally before being tossed in the bin, we have lives in which we write our good intentions only to fail and become more discouraged.

Tonight more people will find themselves looking towards uncertainty and promise in equal measure in the year ahead and I found this piece of advice (which is part of today's gift):

If you are going to make a resolution: Be specific.

Decide exactly what you are going to do

Decide when you are going to do it by

How many, how much, who with, where and how will you do it all need to be answered.

Better to make one achievable goal than many you will almost certainly fall short of.

Simple - innit?

Something to watch
A rather useful film on Wycliff - worth a watch if you know little of the man and his work:

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Something to listen to

Here\s a little number that Wyclif probably tapped his toes to:

and here it is in a more modern (and recognisable) form:

O God, your justice continually challenges your Church to live according to its calling:
Grant us who now remember the work of John Wyclif
contrition for the wounds which our sins inflict on your Church,
and such love for Christ that we may seek to heal the divisions which afflict his Body;
through the same Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and for ever. Amen.

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