This is a week where many shops in Scotland will be taking steps towards reopening their premises and so we travel a little further towards seeing our pattern of life being closer to what it once was.
On the shopping list for the Irvin household is a decent shoehorn (recommendations welcome). Our previous shoe fitting implement was the rather ubiquitous IKEA shoehorn that is pictured. I think I would rather upgrade to something more substantial this time. For one, it will be nice when we are able to have guests again to have a better shoehorn ready to be deployed but also – I am not sure that I am ready to brave the queues at IKEA yet!
This past Sunday I made a reference to a shoehorn in my message during the live streamed service. The reference was not about us needing to procure a new one but rather the danger of using it as a blunt tool for biblical interpretation. You see, we have started a new series looking at the Prophet Zechariah and the context in which they write is one of renewal and restarting. There could be a bit of a temptation that when we read of their experience we shoehorn it into our own.
The era in which Zechariah ministered was one where God’s people were returning from a long time of exile. Their religious and national identity was being rekindled. They were learning what it was to overcome the experiences of their present turmoil and to look ahead to a better time. Perhaps this rings true of our own experience as we journey through our own renewal?
We must be clear though when we read texts like this that the prophecies that it contained were spoken into the context of those original listeners and are pertinent and personal to their own experience. However, what we are invited to do, whether we are new to reading the Bible or not, is too be encouraged by a message of hope that calls God’ people to trust in his ways and his timings. This message of hope would ultimately be revealed in the Lord Jesus and today the church picks up the baton of communicating that message.
Though Zechariah is referred to as a Minor Prophet he shared a major message of hope that still speaks clearly today. Join us in exploring how that message of hope speaks into our own experience.
Stuart Irvin. June 2020
If you would like to dig a little further with Zechariah, then I would recommend the following video as a good start.
It is put together by scholars from Durham University and it gives a succinct introduction.