Dear Minster and Friends
‘Light yourself on fire with passion, and people will come for miles to see you burn.’
Widely Attributed to Wesley
“And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” 7 Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
As we can see from these verses in Daniel, we do not live in a new era when popular culture and Christian convictions seem to pull in different directions. The music, the arts, celebrities, all that is shiny and influential, golden extravagance and public displays ..virtue signalling. None of these are new.
Aldous Huxley prophesied a dystopia In Brave New World where we could lose our freedom through being entertained and socially frowned upon, instead of through the terror of secret police like George Orwell suggested in his dystopia, 1984. The motto for the land of decadent control was “No leisure from pleasure. Neil Postman, commented in 1985 of Huxley : As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacity to think.
Let us not imagine that the mood music of Babylon has totally faded, nor that the threats for going against the flow have been totally withdrawn. Being a Christian in any age will involve a conscientious criticism of the status quo, and a quiet conviction about what really matters about God, our fellow human beings, and the world we are placed in to steward and flourish.
Daniel and his friends found themselves in a fire, for their very convictions, but in that fire they found God – up close, and personal. They found Him in the flames.
From Daniel, through Pentecost in Acts 2, and into the churches today, we often find Christ in the flames. Sometimes these are flames of adversity and struggle, sometimes they can be the flames of his Presence, but in the flames we can encounter God.
This week, which begins with Pentecost, and will include a day of prayer as a church on Wednesday… I am praying for us too, that we would have breakthroughs in our lives personally, and together, and that moe than anything, you too, and all of us, would find a way to resist the strong mood music of our culture, the pressure to give up and join the crowd, and that even if under pressure, we might reach out and find Christ in the flames.
With much love,