Friday, March 14, 2014

Places and Cities of Spiritual Influence

After 2 days of fairly intense study of Hebrew, I began to read a couple of monographs and commentaries on Isaiah 40-66. I was given the text, Isaiah 50:4-9, Psalm 31:14-19; Phil 2:5-9 to preach in next month's Chapel, about three and a half weeks from now. Surprisingly, these texts have been a real comfort to me as I seek the Lord for my future and reflect on my 6 years of teaching ministry. I read about the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and how her father, a Lutheran pastor decided to go to East Germany under Communist Rule while everyone else was heading to the more prosperous West Germany. Merkel's father must have known something about downward mobility or forsaking safety for the sake of Christ, very much like the Christ's hymn of Phil 2.
Often-times I have been told that it would be madness to return to Malaysia; Is Sabah a kind of backwater place as some people think. Well, Hippo was not the most illustrious of places, but Augustine outshone everyone from the more important cities. Origen was originally known as Origen of Alexandria, but his greatest work came when he had to leave Alexandria and went to Caesarea in Israel, not exactly the most well-known of cities in the 3rd century. Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum (Matt 4), making it a base for his itinerant ministry in this thriving city north of the sea of Galilee, but nonetheless he was scathing in his condemnation of Capernaum as one of the cities that witnessed his miracles but did not really repent.

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