I WISH I KNEW WHERE THIS IS GOING….
Life is complicated enough as it is.
There is an old adage about writing and speaking for impact. Tell them what you are going to say, say it, tell them what you said. Classically in church it comes in the form of the three-point sermon. “I have three things to say…the first point is….the first and second points were “ etc. Signposting and directing all the way. That means that whoever is on the journey with you has the comfort of knowing where you are going, where we currently are (and maybe even more importantly) when we will finish!
Maybe one day I will follow that advice….
It has been a frustrating office day today. It has felt a bit like I have been given the script at the end of the play, only to find that most of the characters were in the wings or appeared in the first act and I came in after the interval!
Direction is crucial…
I just read a document that was technical in nature and I have to confess that I gave up at the version control paragraph. The explanation of which version would be called what confused me so much I had to go and make a cup of tea. And this document hasn’t been updated in 15 years!
Clarity is key…
I know someone whose brain is more active than it is connected to their mouth. Which means that a sentence will begin half way through a thought. The hearer has no context or even a subject of the story and is expected to proffer an opinion on the state of affairs just explained. Often the best approach is to nod sagely and smile enigmatically in the hope that this is sufficient commentary to move on to the next story.
Context is everything…
Jesus could be enigmatic. In fact, he was very clear that some of what he said, especially in parables, was not to be understood by everyone but was only for his few disciples. The pharisees often believed that Jesus was criticising them but they could not be sure, he had not challenged them directly so as to be accused and divert his ministry. “It was not yet his time”.
But on other occasions, Jesus was very direct.
Not least the resurrected Jesus who knew that he had to prepare the disciples to be the church. Here are some of Jesus’ words captured in Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts:
“Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
“This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Direction. Clarity. Context. I wonder what he was trying to tell us….? (enigmatic smile).