Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church's Keep in Touch pew sheet 30 August 2020
You know those schoolboy/girl bible riddles, “Who was the first hoon in the bible?” “Jehu, he drove furiously” (referencing 2 Kings 9:20). Or “When was the first cricket match in the bible?” “Acts 2 14, Peter lifted up his voice with the Eleven and was bold”. Acts 2:14 doesn’t say quite that, but why let facts stand in the way of a good (bad) schoolyard joke? The best (worst) of these riddles use archaic King James. And “When is the first locomotive in the bible?” “Isaiah 6, His train filled the temple”.
That last came to mind when Leisa told me what she has planned for my birthday. For my 64th, to demonstrate that she wasn’t limited to the Beatles feeding and needing, she bought a model train set. And this year, for my mumble mumbleth, she’s ordered a table to go in the ballroom (have to keep Hugo away from it when Yoof nights restart) so that the now-extended train set can be reassembled.
I love that opening line of Isaiah 6. I only have to read, or hear, or think of “In the year that King Uzziah died ... ” and I’m as transported as if it were the introductory bars of a Bach chorale, or a Mark Knopfler riff. I’m not into raising my hands in church (you probably are, and that’s fine by the way, more power to your elbow or whatever keeps your arms elevated, I’m just too, I don’t know, Church of England). But in my study or on my bed, “In the year that King Uzziah died” sees me with arms aloft and face uplifted because I know what’s coming. “I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” Then heavenly creatures declare to each other those precious words which from the church’s earliest time have been used in the eucharist, the communion meal, to proclaim that the crucified Lord whom we are remembering is now risen and glorified and reigning with the Father and the Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”