The dawn of any God given day is a good thing, but especially so when you see the sun rise over a cloud covered ocean. Some of my family woke early this morning to watch the sun rise at Diamond Beach, but only me and my iPhone saw the whole thing.
U.S. Presidential hopeful Donald Trump was not too pleased this week when Pope Francis suggested that Trump’s plan to build a wall to keep immigrant’s out of the country was not Christian. The Pope is quite right though – Galatians 3:14 has something to say about dividing walls and what Christ does with them …
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”
But Trump’s response to Pope Francis beggars belief, with him reportedly saying of the Pope:
“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.”
Really?? What about Jesus, quite a significant religious leader, who wasn’t averse to questioning the faith of people, particularly the faith of the political and establishment leaders of the time. In response to a disingenuous question from the Pharisees Jesus replies in Mark 7:6 …
“Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
And in Matthew 23:27-28 Jesus says …
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
For Trump to say that religious leaders shouldn’t question a person’s faith, demonstrates a profound and disturbing ignorance of the very religious leader that Trump hypocritically claims to follow.
In church at the moment we are working through John’s gospel, and a couple of times Arthur has shown us on a map Jesus’ movements around Judea and Galilee, and made the observation that the distance between Galilee and Jerusalem, is pretty similar to the distance between Newcastle and Sydney – a journey that we Novocastrians are very familiar with. Just to see this visually, I’ve used Google Maps and a bit of cut-and-paste to put the east coast of NSW next to Israel – and the similarity in distances is indeed strikingly close.