Something hidden?!

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From the Manse.....

I have just finished reading "The Twyford Code' the new novel by the best selling author Janice Haylett. Published last month, it is her follow up to 'The Appeal" and just like that first novel, she uses an innovative way to tell the story.

Without giving anything away, I can tell you that running through the story is the hunt for clues and hidden meanings in books as the protagonist seeks to unravel and crack the 'Twyford Code'.

From time to time there have been various conspiracy theories about secret messages being hidden within the Bible — ones that only those in the know are able to decipher and in doing so a different meaning and message is to be discovered. Unsurprisingly, apocalyptic books such as Daniel and Revelation are ripe for such theories.

Needless to say, I have no time for such notions. However, an understanding of the meaning of numbers in Biblical times can help us better understand the meaning of a passage or an idea.

For example, 7 is the number for perfection; made up of 3 (the number for God) and 4 (the number for the universe). 6 on the other hand is the number for imperfection and evil. So when in Revelation 13:18 it speaks of the number of the beast being 666 it means that this beast is very, very very evil. Whilst we have lost sight of the importance of numbers, those living at the time would have been very much aware. The closest we get to this today is 13 being seen as unlucky by some.

This is not some convoluted code squirrelled away in the depths of the original text but rather something we have simply lost sight of over the years.

So, is there a secret meaning or code hidden in plain sight within the Bible? No! There is though a message that at times we have failed to see in all its fullness and possibilities and that is love. Love for God, neighbour and self. Love for those who are somehow on the outside, love for those who are despised, love for those who are looked down upon or seen as being unworthy or somehow undeserving.

God's love is the thread that runs throughout the Bible, taking us from Genesis through to Revelation. It is a love story.

As we stand on the cusp once more of Lent, we are reminded how the events of Jesus in the desert followed by the story of the Passion and of Easter show us the depth and length of God's love. Love in human form to transform us as individuals as well as the world, bringing all things together in and through the one who finds himself on a cross outside the city wall.

It is through and because of love that we are known and it is through and because of love that we are to love others. That is not easy and at times it is a big ask. Yet that is our calling, to live and reflect the love of God in all that we do, all that we say and all that we are. No ifs and no buts.

How we do that gives us much to reflect on and ponder over this Lenten-tide.

With love and God Bless

Keith

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