In my office, I have a little packet of Green Olives. They just sit there looking at me, seeing how long I can resist the temptation to gobble the whole packet. It’s strange but at one time in my life, I hated olives with its rubbery texture, and its unusual taste, but now I could eat a whole jar!
The Bible is a bit like the olives , some Scripture stories are easily read and accepted yet others, for example the Rape of Tamar (2 Samuel 13: 1-14 ) are more difficult to digest and can leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
Yet as I get older and maybe a little wiser, I come to read the more difficult Biblical passages with a greater sense of understanding. The Biblical world and the world we now inhabit are not so different, as rape, abuse and violence are present, and also situations where we see courage, love and strength.
We live in a world of paradox and inconsistency, where the ‘good and gracious’ sits alongside the ‘despair and desolation’, and it is up to the Holy Spirt to nudge and provoke a reaction, Instead of turning away and ignoring the unpalatable areas of our Life , maybe the Spirit is encouraging us to look and digest, and to face our demons, our prejudices, our fears.
We never embark on this venture alone for we have the Love of Christ to guide us and point the way ahead.
My Olives will one day be eaten, and I shall relish them, just as I relish the diversity, the paradox, the mystery, the pain and the grace of God.
God of the Paradox
We are a people of ordinary substance
Never wanting to rock the boat
To keep things on an even keel,
But your world does have
The delights and the desperate
The have and have-nots
The pain and pleasure
Bless those who suffer in silence
Bless those who are persecuted
Bless those who are oppressed by power
WE ask this is Jesus name