Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Faith as small as a mustard seed

I've been fasting for five days now. Superficially for the very selfish reason of wanting to lose weight but also because Jesus fasted and I wanted to try to understand more about it through experiencing the ups and downs of a fast. Secondly, my fast coincidentally started at the same time as Murray Norton commenced his five day 500 mile charity bike ride. I decide I would fast and I would then give him £100 sponsorship being a notional equivalent of money saved (not going out to dinner, not spending on takeaways or spending on alcohol). Thirdly, I was just intrigued to see what would happen. There have been highs and lows - I was on such a high on Monday night. I went to my favourite restaurant (Pizza Express). I watched everyone else eat my favourite (!) pizza. I drank water and I feasted on God's word. It was Christianity Explored night so it was a great opportunity to find out more about Jesus whilst fasting.

Mustard seed
I've also googled fasting and there is a huge amount of information to process, which hopefully in due course will find its way onto this blog.

Mostly I have so far described myself as a non-believer who sometimes has faith the size of a mustard seed. Perhaps you are noticing a change in me as this blog progresses. All I can say is, I don't feel my "faith" has grown but I feel my non-belief is fading. I have stopped fighting and now ask myself that HUGE question - "What if it is true?". Think about it - "What if what Mark says in his gospel is true?". The implications for the whole world are awesome.

I've copied the first chapter from Mark's Gospel below. I've chosen to use a version from a particular translation of the bible called "The Message". I have done this as I feel that for many people like myself we have heard the words so many times, our senses are dulled. I keep reading this and asking myself the question "What if it's true?".

Mark Chapter One -   

The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

Watch closely: I'm sending my preacher ahead of you;    He'll make the road smooth for you.    Thunder in the desert!    Prepare for God's arrival!    Make the road smooth and straight!

4-6John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.

7-8As he preached he said, "The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I'm a mere stagehand, will change your life. I'm baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out."

9-11At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God's Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: "You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life."

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