Homemade Chocolate Banana Loaf and Isaiah

Homemade wholemeal chocolate banana loaf
Slices of stale homemade wholemeal chocolate walnut banana loaf cakes make the best toast base – for lashings of thick creamy fig yoghurt and a tart mixed berry and stonefruit coulis. A tummy-filling brunch.

I’ve been listening to David Suchet read the NIV of the whole book of Isaiah. Really like his deeply baritone YHWH voice. An astonishingly riveting few hours of people’s unbelievable deliberate rebellion against the only God, the warnings of terrible judgement on God’s people, yet also tender moments of encouragement (“You will remember no more the shame of your widowhood”) and promises of punishment on God’s enemies (“I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh”).

Didn’t realise so much of Isaiah was in Handel’s Messiah (had to rein in the urge to sing along), or that “I will never forget you, my people” (set to 1970s music by Carey Landry, who left the Catholic priesthood) came from Isaiah 49 and not Hosea!

In our Bible read-through in 2012, F and I came unstuck at Isaiah. Not much progress has been made since.

So much to learn.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)

Homemade wholemeal chocolate walnut banana loafstale homemade wholemeal chocolate walnut banana loaf

Kippers for Breakfast and the New Exodus in the Gospel of Mark

At last evening’s “New Testament Overview“, Ro Mody gave us a brief tour of the four Gospels. It was far too brief, I thought, to be absolutely coherent. Always a tough job to summarise without being simplistic.

So the four Gospels give us a full portrait of Jesus, and in Gospel of Mark, Jesus is a man always on the move, he is a man “on the way” – the way that was prepared by John the Baptist, that leads him from Nazareth to his baptism in the wilderness to his journey to Jerusalem to die.

Good observation, but what does that tell us about Jesus the man though?

Kippers and peas + Exodus = breakfast
Kippers fried in a good knob of butter + some peas

This morning’s reading at brekkie was from the Book of Exodus (in line with our church’s progress through the RML Bible Overview series).

Exodus was certainly the major redemption event in the Old Testament. It was also a major step in God’s revelation of himself to Israel as a unique God who is:

  • covenant-keeping (“abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”);
  • utterly and absolutely sovereign and powerful, who can control everything in creation (including the heart of the Pharaoh);
  • scarily holy;
  • yet somehow also, merciful and gracious and compassionate.

In RML Bible Overview terms, the “God’s Relationship with Man” box gets a little tick. Things seem to be improving before the people of Israel are booted from Egypt, but you as you read through the rest of Exodus, you start to despair of such a stiff-necked people ever possibly having a relationship with the aforementioned God!

But back to the Gospel of Mark.

In Mark 6:31-52, there are clear allusions to Exodus (for working, see Sach and Hiorns’ “Dig Deeper into the Gospels” (not “Dig Even Deeper Still” as many cheekily suggested)). But Rikki Watts suggests that the link is far deeper: in Isaiah’s New Exodus in Mark, he says that even though there is a plethora of direct quotations from Isaiah, Mark is deliberately structuring his Gospel to point out that Jesus’ work is to bring about a (greater and more portentous) new exodus.

If this is true, then Jesus isn’t just going on his way, but the schema of deliverance, journey, and arrival at YHWH’s dwelling suggest strongly that he is, in fact, the God of the Exodus (and all that entails) redeeming his people, in a greater and even more powerful way, for relationship with him.

Placeholder till I can do enough work to confirm this!