Skip to main content

The one with the three evangelists on a train (in praise of "not taking ourselves seriously")

Have you heard the one about the three evangelists on a train?

So, last Wednesday, Nay Dawson, Michael Ots and myself spent the day in Salzburg, city of Mozart and the Sound of Music, enjoying the atmosphere, the street markets and the views. And at about 3pm we paid our 14 euros and boarded our train to Mittersill from which we were due to arrive at 5.45pm.

Simple eh!

An hour later we passed through Schwartzach St. Veit and continued to enjoy the views of the mountains and the lakes. Awed by the handiwork of our creator. Thrilled by the views. Enjoying the journey.

At 5.40pm with our destination almost in view we asked a passenger "is Mittersill the next station" to which we received the interesting reply "never heard of it". We checked with the guard, who laughed! He advised us that we should have changed trains at 4pm. The lights went on.

We'd almost completed a 200km journey from Salzburg to Klagenfurt, which is down near Slovenia in the south of Austria. Our intended destination, Mittersill is in the north of Austria near Switzerland. Our diversion should have cost us about 35 euros but thankfully the amused Austrians allowed us to get back on track for no extra cost. Some grace.

For almost two hours we'd been heading south east instead of west. Ignorant of the truth, with no idea where we actually were, though we were perfectly happy. It's full of spiritual illustrations about how the destination does matter, about what it's like to live in ignorance - we were loving the journey. The application the three of us took to heart as we waited to correct our error at Klagenfurt was the need to not take ourselves seriously. We must take God very seriously. We dare not take ourselves seriously. What do we know? Who do we think we are?

Our error exposed and repented of we finally arrived in Mittersill about 6 hours late. Journey's are great, but destinations are actually more important. In an amusing sequel Nay and I were driving back to Southampton from Stanstead on Monday night and managed to get within about 1.5miles of running out of petrol at 2am...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use (http://planningcenteronline.com/) tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue



2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin



3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong



4. Cornerstone - Hillsong


Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…