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Well, just over a month to go now until the new Bond film is released. No doubt it will be action-a-plenty, and no doubt the opening ten minutes will cause hearts to race and leave no time to look away from No Time to Die. It’s the Bond formula, and what makes Bond, Bond, and few could imagine a cinematic equation with a different double-O.
How very daring and powerful of God then, to begin his story in an entirely different way. Page One of the New Testament (where many people begin their engagement with the story) is certainly not written according to the Bond formula. Its long and difficult list of ‘names and begats’ make for difficult reading. Why is that? Of course it has its purpose in establishing Jesus’ descent from the line of Abraham and David.
But I’ve always wondered if it has a secondary purpose. Perhaps to sort out those who are interested in knowing the truth, from those who are only interested in looking the other way. After all, the pearl is only accessed after prising open a rather uninspiring shell. And Jesus said that only the wise bother to wrestle with the rock in order to build their house. I remember a school friend, upon receiving a Gideon’s New Testament, reading the opening page in an affected and supercilious voice, before consigning the Book to the bin. Pity. For the Book tells the only way to live, and there will come a time to die.
DM 25th February 2020