Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Transfiguration

Elijah and Moses met with Jesus on the mountaintop. Why Elijah and
Moses? Perhaps because in Moses we find the personification of Law
while in Elijah we find the prophets. This leads me to think: As we
travel on this Lenten path, what role does these two aspects of our
faith play in our spirituality?

Both of these are obviously important to Jesus, and must therefore be
considered in our faith.

Sometimes we tend to shape our spiritual journey around the law. In
Jesus' time the law was seen as something inspired by God. The Torah
was the measuring rod people used to assess their place before God and
with each other. The Law is just that: A measuring rod. It cannot
replace God. It cannot tell us exactly what it means to be in
relationship with God and with each other. Sometimes we are even
tempted to use the Bible as a law-book, focussing on all the "don't"'s,
trying to avoid those by all means possible. If we read the Bible, we
will find that the Bible contains more "do's" than "don't's". Like
someone said: "If we do all the do's, we will not have time to do the
don't's!". The law does not stand alone on the mountain-top. The law is
not worshipped and we must be careful not to build it a little hut
alongside the hut we build for God. If the law were all there is, then
Peter, James and John would have bumped into Moses alone - a ghost!.
The law without Jesus is a scary thing.

The same must be said about the prophets - or the bearers of the news
of God's offered grace. Grace alone can be worshipped either alongside
Jesus or even without Jesus. Grace without Jesus and without the law is
cheap. It creates an environment where "everything goes". Cheap grace
makes a mockery of salvation. It makes God's effort, initiative and
work worthless.

Let us put these things in perspective during Lent. There are areas of
our lives where we know we have not allowed Jesus to be Lord. The law
helps us to recognize and understand it through the moving of God's
Spirit. We have the assurance of God's work of grace through the voices
of the prophets. There is an opportunity for healing.

When these elements come together, something beautiful happens.
Transformation takes place! We cannot transfigure as Jesus did - He is
God after-all. We can be transformed.

May this Lenten-time be a time of refreshing, renewal, transformation,
new life. May the God of Law and the Prophets be at work in your life,
and mine.

Friday, February 24, 2006


"In general terms, service is willing, working and doing in which a
person acts not according to his (sic) own purposes or plans but with a
view to the purpose of another person and according to the need,
disposition and direction of others. It is an act whose freedom is
limited and determined by the other's freedom, an act whose glory
becomes increasingly greater to the extent that the doer is not
concerned about his own glory, but about the glory of the other." -
Karl Barth

Can you imagine this form of service in a Government department? What
about your local shopping-store? What a great idea!

I am becoming more aware of the need for the local church to serve in
this way. Why? To please people?

No, we do not serve in order not to receive "customer-complaints". We
serve, because it is what Christ asks of His followers. This does not
mean that this form of service is unique to the Christian-faith.

Consider some other social-paradigms. "Community" is built on service,
cooperation, being less concerned with self and having a greater
awareness of the well-being of others.

Perhaps we can give-up self-centeredness during Lent and learn how to

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A little about me

Hi. My name is Wessel Bentley. I live in Pretoria, South Africa. I serve as a Methodist minister and as a part-time lecturer at John Wesley College - Kilnerton. My field of interest is Systematic Theology and I am currently reading towards a Ph.D. in Dogmatics and Ethics at the University of Pretoria.

Too many sentences in this last paragraph start with "I". More important than any of these things I mentioned is my family. My wife, Natalie, and our son, Matthew are special gifts from God whom I value very much.

This blog is my time-out. So, this will be the place where I share thoughts, sermons and general things concerning my growth as a person. Feel free to interrupt!

Being new to the blogging-scene, do not expect anything too significant very soon. I hope, that with time, what I have to share will prove valuable to you and I know that your comments will aid me in my personhood.

Until we meet again.