Skip to main content

Travailing

Travailing.  Labouring.  Groaning in the pains of childbirth.  

Whatever you call it, it means long hard work.  Patient, painful persistence.  For much of history, one of the most dangerous activities a woman could undertake.  And still, in our civilised Western world,  one of the more unpredictable and undignified things we are likely to do.

At Christmas, we remember the travail of one woman.  Mary.  How her labour brought forth the Saviour, the long-expected Messiah, and thereby changed the world.

But not completely.  Because Advent is also a looking forward to Jesus' coming again.  And this time we all have a labour to undertake.  Somehow, in some way, the whole of creation is pushing and striving its way towards a new beginning.  And we ourselves are involved.

The Christmas story has given us a taste of what to expect - an inkling of the struggle required, a glimpse of the glory attained.  Each Advent, we look backwards, to remember, and we look forwards, to the goal.   And we find hope to continue with our travail.


 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:22-23

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Theme Week: Air

A beautifully wide theme which can cover everything from blowing bubbles to spotting planes.  Sorry for the belated blogging! Activities 1. Straw painting Toby loves straws at the moment and usually has at least two in his drink, sometimes up to five!  So I thought he might enjoy a spot of straw painting.  We dolloped watered-down paints onto a big sheet of paper, and blew air through the straw to spread the paint out.  The results weren't quite as spectacular as I'd hoped, but it was quite fun.  2. Balloon on a string Toby had already been introduced to the idea of blowing a balloon up and letting it go whoowheeewhooo around the room, so we tried the next stage up - racing it along a string. Thread straw onto long piece of string. Tie string across room. Blow up balloon. Tape balloon onto straw. Let go.  Wheeeeee! Duck! 3. Paper aeroplanes Yeah.  This and the balloon on a string was my attempt to keep us entertained on a wet Bank Holiday Monday.  Ver

Reckoning with righteousness

  'Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.' The preacher was reading from the book of James. It was a passage all about how faith is useless if it isn't accompanied by good works - actually feeding the hungry instead of just saying you'll pray that they'll have food! And James used Abraham, that patriarch of the Jewish faith, as an example of someone whose faith showed up in action. 'Hang on,' I thought. 'I'm sure I've seen that quote in one of Paul's letters, too.' I flicked back a few pages and found it in Romans 4.   'Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.' But in this passage, Paul is arguing exactly the opposite thing! The whole chapter is about how we can't  earn righteousness through works, but only by faith. And Paul uses Abraham as an example of this, too. Abraham was righteous because he trusted God, not because he followed the law. So the exact same quote is use

Reading for Spiritual Formation 2021-22

Do you read books in order to live a better life? I read books for lots of reasons, ranging from escapism and enjoyment to information and obligation.  In some sense, every book we read lodges somewhere inside us, affecting who we are and how we react to life.  I am the product of many books (far too many, some would say!) Not my library! (Image: Pixabay) Last year, though, I read four books with the specific intention of growing spiritually.  These four books were chosen by the Renovaré Book Club.  Renovaré Book Club Renovaré wasn't a name I'd come across before.  Turns out that it's a Christian group founded by Richard Foster (who wrote Celebration of Discipline ) and involving Dallas Willard (who wrote The Spirit of the Disciplines ), which probably gives you a good idea of their emphasis!  I was impressed with the quality of resources offered with the book club - podcasts, articles, discussion boards, online Q&A - and I also thought they'd done a good job get