Psalm 2 is a majestic description of Christ’s coming and rule. God gives the Psalmist the ability to look beyond earthly constraints and context to see a place of transcendent and righteous rule - whose kingdom reaches to the very ends of the earth. This vision of a righteous kingdom runs through the narratives of both old and new testaments, and motivates the events and initiatives we do in New York.
Last month we hosted a remarkable evening with N.T. Wright - hearing from a scholar that makes the world of the first century church accessible to us today. The church then had their own struggles encompassing politics, social injustices, economic tensions, and the challenge of acknowledging but not acquiescing to the dominant culture. It all sounds very familiar to our current landscape - which reminds me of Solomon’s oft-repeated quote that “...there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). If you missed the event you can see the video of The New Testament in Its World: How History Can Revitalize Faith on our website.
The talk came from Prof. Wright’s new book, The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians. There is something profoundly impressive about a 990 page book - on whatever subject. It implies a discipline, intellectual rigor, and perseverance that has to be extraordinary. It becomes more so to find that the book is accessible to those of us lesser mortals not steeped in the elevated realms of the academy. It isn’t a book to travel with, but in looking for insights on better understanding the church and our way forward in 2020 it is a significant contribution.
During this season of Advent and Christmas I hope you are able to press into the beauty and hope of the Gospel as the psalmist does. There are traditions and rituals/habits that help us in this. One of our salon speakers last year, Justin Earley, spoke on the need of developing a daily rhythm for our lives to help us lean into God rather than the incessant demands of life. You can find the Advent Edition of The Common Rule on their website.
A very Merry Christmas to you as we approach this holiday, as well as the beginning of 2020. I’m encouraged at all God is doing and the many ways in which we are able to engage this city as Christians. The possibilities are extraordinary and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.
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For more information on New York City Christian Union Bible Courses and activities, or resources available to you please contact Scott Crosby.