"It was the last supper... the snake crawled around the plate".
"I am the bread of Life".
There's nothing worse than missing out on something really good.
Many years ago, when working in my first job, I recall how one Christmas the company had paid for us to dine at one of London's top eateries from a self service luncheon. The food looked absolutely delicious, but, alas, I was unwell, and shortly after arriving, I had to head home without touching a thing.
Imagine being invited to such a sumptuous dinner, where the most delicious tasting items, the most refreshing drinks you can imagine, were being promised, but when you arrive, everything you were expecting is off the menu, and instead you're presented with something you hate.
I expect you wouldn't contain your disappointment.
China, this week, announced it is forbidding all sales of the Bible, and the state is planning to seek to create its own 'revised' edition of the good book. It's pretty obvious why. The Communist party are only too aware that Christianity is bringing a very different, and hugely popular, message to the population to the authorized "religion" of the country's ruling class, and given the continuing growth of the faith, could well pose a national threat to socialism in the next 10-20 years.
It's no doubt hard for many of us in the West to take that kind of growth of spirituality on board amidst our woefully impoverished secular culture, but what we need to at least recognize is that the backbone behind several of our constitutionally - derived societies was, at least at one time, that very same vibrant truth of Christianity.
There's a great deal of "the trouble with" types of analysis going on right now, and one thing that keeps arising in this is the vital importance regarding where Christian truth places us. Well, that's water under the bridge, some say, but it really isn't, because as I've sought to show on my entries here numerous times, there's been plenty going on of late that points to the fact that a Christian world-view is just as important now as it's always been. China shows us that when the Biblical message is taken seriously, on its own terms, there's nothing that can really stand in its way.
The West has been drenched for all my life in secularism, and whilst most enjoy what would be deemed a 'free' society, people are beginning to wake up to the fact that Secularism alone isn't a particularly good thing. It doesn't ready you for the sharp corners of life (principally because it gets you to aspire for all the wrong things) and it certainly becomes really unpalatable when dealing with those truths, because it's an empty set - it has nothing to say but 'well, that's just the way it is'. Christianity focuses on something more than our facile, predictably selfish, aims. It unambiguously affirms that all of life is to be focused upon the life, death and resurrection of a person who says that the trials and the suffering are meant to drive us beyond ourselves to life within one who has shared all of this, but, by dealing with our fallen, bent, inward, messed up world, is at work to reconcile the present troubles to a deeper, richer, truer life that resides in God.
The last few decades has seen an exponential growth in the psychological and social maladies our modern world creates, mirrored by a huge dependance upon pharmaceuticals to seek to cope with this.
The irreplaceable meta-narrative that Christianity has supplied our world for centuries - that history is going somewhere - has been removed, but not been replaced by our materialistic times, and this has left nothing but a terrible void that several post-war generations have taken as the only way of seeing the world.
It's cold, it's destructive, and it's totally untrue.
The Atheistic authorities in China are tripping into the same void we occupy, but they need to stop and look at the ancient story of China itself to understand how foolish this direction really is.
God has left His fingerprints across the heavens, the earth, and in our hearts.
It's time we stopped dining on ashes, and came home to the real feast, made ours in the gift of Jesus Christ.