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Image of the Day

SU WordLive’s image of the day

Two Mondays ago I was reading SU WordLive – as I try to do each day: we were starting Proverbs…

Proverbs 1

 1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

 2 for attaining wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words of insight;

 3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
doing what is right and just and fair;

 4 for giving prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young-

 5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance-

 6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.

With an introduction like that, why wouldn’t I want to read on? I did. I enjoyed the reading. It was encouraging and inspiring and challenging and full of wisdom – and even I, wise in retirement 🙂 – wanted more.

And I got it from Rev Howard Peskett who retired to Penzance in 2006 with his wife Roz, after doing discipleship and ministry training for 20 years in Singapore and 15 years at Trinity College, Bristol. I always perk up when I see that Howard is one of the contributing commentators on SU WordLive.

Here is what he wrote. I love his style and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If Howard somehow happens to read this blog: “Thank you, Howard!”

‘Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? And where is the knowledge we have lost in information?’1

I begin by thanking God for Solomon, a wise though flawed king. I also thank God for my father and my mother (perhaps long dead), without whom I would not exist, for whatever wisdom I gained from them and especially if they instructed me in God-fearing love and obedience. As I reflect on the (at least fifteen) wisdom nouns in the prologue (vs 1–7) I wonder how my children and grandchildren (if I have any) or the young people for whom this book was written may gain and practise the qualities described here, especially the most fundamental one: an affectionate and awe-filled regard for and obedience to God’s good laws (v 7). Do I myself know this? Show this? Embody this?!

The father’s first lecture is about avoiding gangs, resisting peer pressure – a key skill for young people (and for older people?!). Which way shall I go? Which house shall I enter? Which voice shall I heed? These questions echo throughout Proverbs: one most fundamental question is ‘How do I know what I know and how do I know it is true?’ The father’s teaching, the mother’s graceful garland seem so much less enticing than the gang, the lots, the loot! Verse 17 notes the obvious truth that no bird flies deliberately into the hunter’s net! In this past century we have seen, in different parts of the world, whole nations stampeding into the arms of tyrants! Do I have the guts, the moral courage to stand against collective lunacy, even when pelted with insults, mud and stones?

The father concludes his warning with a blunt, global (‘all’, v 19) statement: ‘The rippers-off will be ripped off!’ (v 19a, literally). Sin has a boomerang quality (See also Proverbs 26:27; 28:10; Psalm 9:16), though I may not see the payback in my lifetime. If the vindication seems delayed, I wait for it.

Howard Peskett

1 From TS Eliot, Choruses from the Rock

 

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Agane Jesus saed, “Peace be wi yis! Jist as tha Faither haes sent me, A’m sennin yous as weel.” John 20:21 in Ulster Scots

triptych

Launch of the Four Gospels in Ulster Scots at Greyabbey Presbyterian Church 12 November 2016

In 2012 I attended the dedication of the Kouya New Testament in Côte d’Ivoire with my wife and two colleagues – and I was invited to be “official photographer”. Such was my success that when Tha Fower Gospels in Ulster Scots were being launched the other Saturday night, off I went once again with my camera.

It is good when Scripture is read: on that Saturday evening, many passages from the Gospels were read in Ulster Scots, the heart language of many people who live in the Ards Peninsula and the Glens of Antrim.

This post is simply a series of photographs that I took on the night.

Tha Fower Gospels set out for sale

Tha Fower Gospels set out for sale

This lady bought three copies

This lady bought three copies

Philip and Heather Saunders with Jim Shannon, the local MP and keen advocate for the Ulster Scots language

Philip and Heather Saunders with Jim Shannon, the local MP and keen advocate for the Ulster Scots language

The Ards translation team

Philip & Heather and Jim Shannon with the Ards translation team

A goodly crowd listening to Rev Neil Stewart, minister of Greyabbey Presbyterian Church

A goodly crowd listening to Rev Neil Stewart, minister of Greyabbey Presbyterian Church

The Low Country Boys who provided the music

The Low Country Boys who provided the music

The full team involved with Tha Fower Gospels translation project

The full team involved with the Tha Fower Gospels translation project

May Kirkpatrick and Elizabeth McLeister sign each other's copies

May Kirkpatrick and Elizabeth McLeister sign each other’s copies

Check out the Low Country Boys blog for a few more photos of the evening.

Finally you might like to take a look at the latest statistics on Bible translation worldwide on the Wycliffe Global Alliance website

Or get involved with Wycliffe UK & Ireland #endbiblepoverty

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St Patrick's BreastplateA few days ago I went off on a retreat to a peaceful rural house in County Down to get my head showered (as we say in N. Ireland) and to read and write and think and pray about work and life and things in general. This booklet was on the coffee table…

Patrick more than a legend… it was written by the late Derick Bingham and was much more enlightening and uplifting – and accurate – than the stuff I blogged about earlier.

In my student days at Trinity College Dublin studying History and Politics, I had a course in medieval Irish History which included Patrick. Ever since I have been impressed and fascinated not just by Patrick’s life and mission, but by the incredible influence of the Irish Celtic Church that he founded and which became a mission movement that can still be learned from today. Celtic missionaries worked within the culture and translated the Scriptures into the local languages as they spread the Gospel throughout Ireland, Scotland, the North of England and deep into Europe ravaged in the years after the fall of Rome. And after all, wasn’t it the Irish who saved civilisation…  see Thomas Cahill “How the Irish Saved Civilisation

At the end of the booklet, Derick Bingham included St Patrick’s Breastplate.

Patrick's BreastpalteThe notes say this…

The original, though traditionally ascribed to Patrick, is thought rather to be an 8th century compilation of his Christian faith and beliefs written in the form of a Druidic incantation for preservation on a journey. It shows the power the Gospel had to spiritually transform the thinking of the Irish.

 

It is still today a wonderful meditation on the spiritual journey of the Christian life.

Unlike the very popular penultimate verse in the illustration at the top of this post – and much Facebooked and Tweeted in the past few days – I have included the fuller version below for readers to enjoy.

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
*
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet ‘well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Source: http://www.prayerfoundation.org/st_patricks_breastplate_prayer.htm

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Well, first of all, for a very few Bible translators, it leads to an invitation to Buckingham Palace!

Mary Steele, the first Irish member of Wycliffe Bible Translators UK, received the MBE for services to linguistics, literacy and Bible translation in Ghana. And I got the chance to go with her for the investiture. Mary was also interviewed on Ulster Television about her many years with Wycliffe.

Mary Steele MBE at Buckingham Palace with some colourful friends

Mary Steele MBE at Buckingham Palace with some colourful friends 10 May 2006

However what sparked my reminiscing about Mary today was finding a story posted by Wycliffe colleague Ed Lauber about one of the two Ghanaian Bibles that Mary was involved in translating – the Bible for the Bimoba people of Northern Ghana.

I have written before about Solomon Sule-Saa, a Ghanaian who has done extensive research on the impact of translating the Bible into the Konkomba and Bimoba languages of northern Ghana. In a summary of his research presented to a conference in September, he said of the Konkomba and Bimoba peoples:

“The Bible now provides the key to understand the world”

During an ethnic conflict which was so serious the Ghana army had to intervene, the Bimoba lost confidence in the neutrality and good will of the Ghana government. They saw no way forward but to continue fight for their rights. In a war council, several leaders quoted from the translated Bible, arguing that that Jesus way is the way of reconciliation. So, abandoning their own wisdom they agreed to engage in peace talks moderated by the government they no longer trusted. It worked. They got what they were seeking through negotiation. Now that is faith – following the teachings of the Bible when your life and your livelihoods are at stake. This story shows that the Bible in these languages is doing more than influencing the decisions of individuals. It is also affecting the decisions made by the chiefs for the whole group. Now that is being transformed.

Wycliffe UK’s tag line used to be Translated Scripture Transforms Lives – it still does.

mary-marlene-small

Mary Steele in conversation with Marlene Ferguson at Wycliffe:Live 2009 when we marked her 50 years with Wycliffe

Doing your sums? Mary will be 54 years with Wycliffe sometime this year and continues to work as a translation consultant in Ghana.

Find out how you could be part of your generation translating Scriptures to transform lives.

Or try a taster at Two Week Stint this summer in France!

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I haven’t until today come across CS Lewis’ essay “Modern Translations of the Bible” included in the God in the Dock collection. I got several likes on my blog from Mere Inkling and I had a look and found an extract from Lewis’ essay in which he promotes the value of translating the Bible into modern English without fear of losing the “sanctity” of an older version.

C.s.lewis3The only kind of sanctity that Scripture can lose (or, at least, New Testament scripture) by being modernized is an accidental kind which it never had for its writers or its earliest readers. The New Testament in the original Greek is not a work of literary art: it is not written in a solemn, ecclesiastical language, it is written in the sort of Greek which was spoken over the Eastern Mediterranean after Greek had become an international language and therefore lost its real beauty and subtlety. In it we see Greek used by people who have no real feeling for Greek words because Greek words are not the words they spoke when they were children. It is a sort of “basic” Greek; a language without roots in the soil, a utilitarian, commercial and administrative language.

Does this shock us? It ought not to, except as the Incarnation itself ought to shock us. The same divine humility which decreed that God should become a baby at a peasant-woman’s breast, and later an arrested field-preacher in the hands of the Roman police, decreed also that He should be preached in a vulgar, prosaic and unliterary language. If you can stomach the one, you can stomach the other. The Incarnation is in that sense an irreverent doctrine: Christianity, in that sense, an incurably irreverent religion.

Quoted in Translating the Word

Lewis was a great advocate of JB Phillips’ New Testament in Modern English and in a 1961 letter he wrote: “A modern translation is for most purposes far more useful than the Authorised Version.”

I wonder how much CS Lewis was aware of the modern Bible translation movement? Wycliffe Bible Translators was founded in USA in 1942, Lewis died in 1963 – the year before Wycliffe UK began.

Given the quote above, I’m sure he would have been a great advocate of Wycliffe’s work bringing God’s Word to heart languages around the world.

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What has the Belly Buster Belfast Bap got to do with Egypt? Well… not a lot, but read on

Having celebrated my birthday with the family on the Friday before Christmas, we headed downtown on the Saturday morning to St George’s Market for breakfast and a browse…

belfast bap

The bacon, egg, sausage and black pudding extravaganza that is the Belfast Bap

You can see why it’s advertised as the Belly Buster! We shared two between five of us.

belfast bap stall

The stall in St George’s Market that advertises their delicacy as the Belly Buster

On Sunday morning, Alf and I (from our church Mission Coordination Group – somebody please suggest a better name for our group!) presented the Presbyterian Church in Ireland World Development Appeal Let Justice Flow.

Let Justice flow

Which brought some perspective to our lifestyle in Belfast as we compared the situation faced by Christian brothers and sisters in Egypt!

Why not take a look via the link above and find out how Tear Fund and Christian Aid projects are helping promote a better lifestyle through the funds donated by Presbyterian churches in Ireland – and there’s still time to contribute.

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For the disciples in Matthew 15 it was:

“What do you have?”

“Seven loaves and a few fishes…”

“Ok, I can use that.”

And Jesus fed 4,000 plus people in a deserted area in Gentile territory – and continued the process of teaching them who he was and what he was about.

For me and my wife, almost 25 years ago, it was:

“What do you have?”

“Seventeen years teaching experience in Belfast…”

“Ok, I can use that.”

And Jesus led us into Wycliffe Bible Translators and took us to a boarding school for missionary children in a very rural environment where we taught some wonderful children of equally wonderful missionary colleagues for eight years.

First year at Vavoua International School

I’ve been thinking about this idea since last Sunday morning…

Jesus says: what do you have that I can use? So you can help me in my mission to the world that I created.

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