Thursday, October 26, 2006

Forgotten New Jerusalem

There’s a new book out entitled Forgotten New York, which has been discussed on the radio recently. The book describes historical sites in New York City that are often overlooked as attention is focused on the Empire State Building, Times Square, Woody Allen, and other famous attractions.

This reminded me of another book, Simply Christian by N.T. Wright, which I have found to be a pleasing update (as if one were necessary) to Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I commend both books to you as thoughtful presentations of the Christian faith.

The reason Forgotten New York reminded me of Simply Christian is an illustration that N.T. Wright gives concerning the Bible. He says that the Bible is much like the computer in front of us: capable of so many things, yet often used for so few. Like a computer that is used for word processing and email, with hundreds (thousands?) of other features left undiscovered, so also God’s word is intended to accomplish so much in our lives and yet we usually use it, as Wright says, to prop up the two or three things we are already doing.

In other words, we see clearly in the Bible what we want to see, and what is familiar to us, but we miss that which would be more likely to challenge and correct us. (If it’s not in the tourists’ guide, we miss it!)

What aspects of the Bible are “forgotten”… to you? to me? to the church? And how do we go about reclaiming the lost ground?

Another question we might ask is, what do we consider to be the Empire State Building of the Scriptures? What is at the center of the biblical world, the attraction that surely should not be missed by the traveler? Surely this would be the cross of Jesus Christ, the focal point of all God’s redemptive purposes.

Where the analogy breaks down somewhat is that the cross should be revisited time and time again. Though we must visit the forgotten parts of the Scripture, absorbing all its sights and sounds, these should always place us on paths that lead once again to the cross. From there, everything else is seen most clearly.

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