Prayer Blog – February 2017 (02)

write-footnotes-step-3-version-2

Footnotes

 

I guess it cannot have escaped your attention that a mistake was made at the Oscars the other night. In case you missed it; Warren Beattie and Faye Dunaway announced La La Land as winner of the best film award when, in fact, it should have been Moonlight. Much embarrassment followed as the cast of La La Land had to cease from celebrating and hand the trophies over to their rightful owners. Personally, I know nothing of either film, so cannot comment on the choice made, but I was left thinking that it must be a mark of the culture that we live in, that we are so infatuated with things celebrity, that this dominated the news for several days. It was a simple mistake. These things happen, so what! Let’s be thankful that no-one got hurt.

 

Apologies if my philosophy sounds insensitive but I think there are more important things to worry about. But mistaken identity, or status, is not a new problem. In Luke 9:46-50 we read of an occasion when the disciples argued over who would be the greatest. Jesus corrected their thinking by telling them that they needed to be like children and said, ‘He who is least among you all – he is the greatest’. (Luke 9:48b)

 

On another occasion, John the Baptist got it right and he was the one to do the correcting. In John 3:22-30 an argument had broken out between John’s disciples because everyone was going to Jesus, on the other side of the Jordan, to be baptised. But John was wise and said that his joy was now complete in the knowledge that; ‘He must become greater; I must become less’. (John 3:30) John was determined that the accolade should go to the right one, i.e. as described in that passage, the Christ and the bridegroom. He was still in a privileged position as the friend who went ahead of and attended the bridegroom.

 

Commenting on this passage, Jeff Astley says:

 

The Baptist is a footnote in the world’s history, but his role in God’s drama is key, although his appearance and words make him few friends among the mighty.[1]

 

When I was studying theology, I had to learn to reference my sources of literature and other materials. (As I still do) This is done inserting a footnote at the bottom of the page and collating all those references into the final Bibliography. One time, a young student was writing an essay and inserting abbreviated comments into the footnote section, as he went along, with the intention of finalisng the details later. On this occasion, he strongly disagreed with the author so inserted an obscenity but forgot to remove it. Therefore, he was summoned to the principal’s office to explain. He was gently reminded of the importance of footnoting and, fortunately, the funny side was seen. We nicknamed him footnote 5, for the rest of the course.

 

How then do we see ourselves in God’s great drama? Merely as footnotes? Or do we see the importance of footnotes in pointing us towards the main point. That is, as John the Baptist reminds us – He, must become greater; I must become less. There should be no mistake about, and there will be no greater accolade than that, in God’s final cast.  

 

A Prayer

 

Holy God,
you know the disorder of our sinful lives:
set straight our crooked hearts,
and bend our wills to love your goodness
and your Glory
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

A Song

 

Do Not Strive (Let me do my work among you)[2]

 

Let me do my work among you
Do not strive, do not strive
Let my peace reign within your hearts
Do not strive, do not strive

 

For mine is the power and the glory
For ever and ever the same
Let me do my work among you
Do not strive, do not strive

 

Let me have my way among you
Do not strive, do not strive
Let me show my power among you
Do not strive, do not strive

 

We’ll let you do your work among us
We’ll not strive, we’ll not strive
We’ll let your peace reign within our hearts
We’ll not strive, we’ll not strive

 

For yours is the power and the glory
For ever and ever the same
We’ll let you do your work among us
We’ll not strive, we’ll not strive
____________________________________________________________________________________________


 

[1] Jeff Astley in, Reflections for Daily Prayer: Advent 2016-2017, (London: Church House Publishing, 2016), 87

 

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