20/20 vision

REJOICING: ‘SHOW ME THE WAY, GOD…’

(December 14, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share a Christmas-centred challenge:

Christmas in in the air and we just had to watch it yet again… It’s a Wonderful Life, that 1947 classic Jimmy Stewart movie, commended by Movieguide® as ‘arguably the most beloved movie of all time.’

A Christmas story about (as Jimmy Stewart put it in a recent Movieguide® report) ‘… an ordinary man who discovers that living each ordinary day honourably, with faith in God and a selfless concern for others, can make for a truly wonderful life.’

Recognising… God carries
After serving for four years during WWII flying B-24 bombers over Germany, having been appointed Chief of Staff of the 2nd Combat wing, 2nd Air Division of the 8th Air Force, the actor, now Major James Stewart, ended the war after 20 combat missions, receiving recognition and medals.

This splendid movie was his first after returning from England – but he was war effected, sickly-looking, couldn’t sleep or focus and depressed.  Jimmy Stewart has told how a little book that his dad gave him before he was shipped out brought him through those tense years of leading men into bombing raids. Called The Secret Place—A Key to the 91st Psalm, he would read it before every raid over Europe – and carry it with him. He has said, ‘And I was borne up. Dad had committed me to God, but I felt the presence of both throughout the war.’

Realising… God cares
Jimmy Stewart is known to have relied on his faith both during the war and in life in general. In It’s a Wonderful Life, the character he plays is George Bailey, a humble businessman who turns nastily ungrateful, worried sick due to an unexpected seemingly unsolvable crisis and wanting to end his life.

But faith in Jesus drives the man behind the character. Jimmy Stewart recalls his own feelings during that lowest point in George Bailey’s life when he is faced with unjust criminal charges and, not knowing where to turn, ends up slumped in despair in a little roadside restaurant, unaware that most of the township’s people are arduously praying for him because they care: (more…)

‘AMEN’ (AND OTHER MEANINGFUL WORDS)…

(December 14, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share Christmas and beyond-centred thoughts…

Had interesting phone calls last week from Israel – very early in the morning(!) being evening up there – from a Bible college in Jerusalem inviting me (Robert) to be involved in one of its language programs.

That’s timely, I thought, especially as a Middle-Eastern church had recently suggested I take on the deanship of a proposed Bible college and I was aware that language knowledge/interpretation would be involved there too. In both cases understanding and explaining certain words would be important; especially as some countries’ grammar is limited whereas English is so expansive!

That affirmative ‘Amen’
Now Hebrew is the language most commonly used in everyday life in Israel and this Israeli lady (let’s just call her Sarah) asked me if I knew what certain biblical words really meant in modern everyday Hebrew language. I didn’t have a chance to say anything for she promptly reeled off ‘Do you know what “Amen” really means, Dr Robert?’ And before I could say that I did, ‘Sarah’ went into an in-depth explanation… to which I quickly got in an ‘Amen’ indicating my agreement.

Some people have wrongly considered the word to indicate a soft, quiet ‘Selah-type pause’ or merely the right thing to say after prayers… but it’s actually quite a strong word, meaning ‘to agree.’

It’s a declaration of affirmation, used colloquially to express strong agreement, thus affirming that we firmly believe in what has just been said.

For example the ’Amen’ of the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20 indicates vigorously agreeing with Jesus to get the gospel ‘out there.

That popular ‘Noel
Of course one thing leads to another!  Later we were tinkering with our new versatile Google Home musical unit and heard the most beautiful rendition of that well-loved The First Noel Christmas carol. (more…)