[I suppose this is more a kind of human rumination on the Trinity more than a parable. There’s actually no way one can completely explain the concept of the Trinity. But the doctrine of the Trinity is the only way to make sense of many statements in both the Old and New Testaments.]

Andrew: Hi, what are you up to today?

Alex: I’m trying to sort out this Sprague connection.

Andrew: Oh, is that what one calls this funny plug?

Alex: No, it’s the whole thing.

Andrew: But why’s that plug got 4 pins and not the usual 3?

Alex: 3 lives (i.e. 3 phases) and one neutral; the earth is via the metal casing and this open copper wire.

Andrew: So which is positive and which is negative?

Alex: No, no: it’s AC – alternating current, each live is both positive and negative; it alternates.

Andrew: Oh, I thought alternating current was when we alternate between we’ve got current, we’ve got blackouts; you know, Es-kom, Es-gaan.

Alex: No, the current flows first one way, then the other. It rises to a peak, drops, reverses, becomes negative. Look, let me draw you the graph of AC. I’ll just scribble here.

Copy of Single phase Sine_wave_2.svg

This is what we call a sine wave. You can see where its positive peak (say forwards) is , and where its negative (when it goes backwards) peak is. The whole cycle is 360 degrees; that’s what the figures at the bottom are. In South Africa it does this 50 times per second!

Andrew: Good grief! And this three-phase business?

Alex: OK; what I drew there is single phase. I’ll draw you a 3-phase diagram now. It will look a bit more complicated, because we have 3 phases in one diagram. So I’ll do it in colour if you have a red pen …. Thanks.

 Andrew: I can’t believe it does that 50 times per second; and now you say there are 3 of these; so that’s 150 times per second?
Alex: Not quite. Look here’s the diagram.

3PhasePowerWaveF

You must realise this is ONE current supply in 3 phases; or 3 phases in ONE current supply. Let’s say that above the horizontal “0” line is positive, and below is negative, but remember, it’s the same current in the same cable. We could number the phases, but it’s better to draw them or their wires in different colours. You’ll notice the phases are staggered; we say the second one is 120 degrees later compared to the first, and the third is another 120 degrees later than the second, like your mom’s melktart divided into 3 equal pieces and the angle in the middle is 120 degrees. Four equal pieces would have made it 90 degrees.

Andrew: But don’t they get muddled? The phases, I mean, not the melktert.

Alex: No; they’re in separate wires; that’s why I said there are 3 lives. So you have 3 distinct phases, each with its own “function” (shall we say) but they work together in a kind of unity. They work simultaneously; so there’s never a time when there’s only two or one phase operating. You see they never cross on the horizontal line marked “0″ simultaneously.

Andrew: Okaaaay … But what about the 4th wire?

Alex: Right. That’s the neutral. When those three phases in the lives are completely balanced, there should be no current in the neutral. That’s the theory anyway; so don’t think you can play with it, because in practice it may well have some voltage. The earth, of course, is a connection from the chassis of the motor to ground. So, if there’s voltage on the chassis (which there shouldn’t be) it can leak to earth rather than shocking you. Then you’d be buried in a different kind of earth, hey?

Andrew: Wow, this is so complicated. I mean, it goes backward and forward. The same wire is positive and negative; and there are 3 phases and one current supply and they all exist simultaneously?

Alex: Ja, that’s about it. Each phase has its separate existence and can be measured separately; but they work together in a kind of unity as one current. In fact if you measure the voltage from one phase to neutral, you’ll get 220 volts (assuming Eskom is working!). If you measure “across the phases” you’re going to get about 380 volts.

Andrew: Complicated.

Alex: Not if you study the field. Remember when you tried to explain the concept of the Trinity to me? It just didn’t make any sense. I mean, surely God is one, but you say, “No: three persons in one God. God is the Father; God is the Son; but the Father isn’t the Son; and the Spirit isn’t the Son but ‘proceeds from the Father and the Son’, ‘Filio quoque’,” and all that. Now I just didn’t get that. I mean Jesus was only in existence for some 33 or was it 36 years. But you said, “No, He’s been in existence all the time.” And you also claimed Jesus was both divine and human. Now that didn’t make sense either; just like you don’t get it that AC has both pos and neg in the same wire. I mean, that’s just the way electricity works.

Andrew: It’s certainly difficult for the layman to grasp.

Alex: And shall I tell you something else?

Andrew: What?

Alex: How does electricity flow; I mean, in which direction?

Andrew: You mean, like, from positive to negative?

Alex: Exactly. Now what is electricity? What is it that actually moves?

Andrew: OK, so I know that: we were taught it’s electrons.

Alex: Right. So in which directions do electrons flow?

Andrew: Obviously from positive to negative.

Alex: So you’d think; but actually electrons go from negative to positive.

Andrew: But that’s a contradiction. It can’t be right!

Alex: And yet the theory and mathematics of it all work.

Andrew: No, can’t be.

Alex: So are you an unbeliever? Let me tell you, this IS the way it works. You theological guys aren’t the only ones to have crazy-sounding ideas, which you say are not really crazy, but just too deep.

Andrew: Ja, but, I mean, this is supposed to be science!

Alex: So? “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” That’s from Willem Wisselstroom’s play Hamlet, by the way.

 

Graphs from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sine_wave_2.svg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternating_current

7 November 2014

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Most of us at some stage have watched American detective/crime films, and we are therefore accustomed to police officers ‘mirandizing” their suspects so that the latter are cognizant of their rights. How does this compare with our rights as Christians? (The title is Latin= Amazing Grace.)

THE LAW

You are under arrest: you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_warning#Miranda_rights

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_warning

http://www.mirandarights.org/

What does Jesus offer us through faith in His death & resurrection?

GRACE

You are under grace: you have the right to son/daughtership, you have the right to to inherit eternal life; you have the right to praise; you have the right to speak directly and personally to Almighty God whenever you want to. Nothing you do or say will be held against you on Judgment Day. Do you accept these rights?

Rom 8:14 ff

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) – if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him.

NIV: http://niv.scripturetext.com/romans/8.htm

Eph 1: 5 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace,

http://niv.scripturetext.com/ephesians/1.htm

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.1

http://niv.scripturetext.com/romans/1.htm

Sparrow in My Hand is parody of T’Pau’s song China in your hand (the longer, 3-verse version)
January 2012

It was a plan I had
For the man I had
Birthed at the dawn of time:
Redeem life on earth
With a second birth
By the Spirit of God-in-Man
It was a mission to save
For eternal life
Before they’re snatched away.

And I would pay the price to reconcile
Oh, walk earth and shed My blood.
New life will return through this one sacrifice.
The prophecies will be fulfilled,
Free gift of the Servant King

Don’t fly too far
Your soul’s a sparrow in My hand
Don’t fly too far
Without My help you know
That you cannot stand
And you don’t know what you might
Yet bring upon yourself,
Sparrow in My hand

The I in sin
That is born within
Takes life to a barren land
“Oh I want”
Putting man in the role of God
Autonomy is a fantasy
It’s born of a wilful mind

Don’t fly too far
Your soul’s a sparrow in My hand
Don’t fly too far
Without My help you know
That you cannot stand
And you don’t know what you might
Yet bring upon yourself,
Sparrow in My hand

[On the morning of 24 Dec 2011 I sat in the garden watching the birds. One of these birds is tiny, perhaps only 50mm long; it flits from one branch to another, and then flies back to its original branch. While I was watching it, it flew to my knee , and I clearly felt the breath of its wings, and then it flew back to its original branch. Then it flew away. This seemed to reinforce the image in the poem.
The song China in your hand (URL, in case you are not familiar with the song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtT3naOuG1A ) refers to the story of Dr Frankenstein’s creation of a humanoid monster assembled from human bits and pieces. Frankenstein is repelled by his creation. There are too many contrasts and parallels with the Creation as told in Genesis to mention them here. However the Bible tells us that God saw that His creation was good. (For the NIV Genesis text click this link: http://niv.scripturetext.com/genesis/1.htm )]

Matt 10:29
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.
For the full NIV text click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/matthew/10.htm

John 15:4-5
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
For the full NIV text click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/john/15.htm

John 3:1-8
Jesus answered, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
For the full NIV text click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/john/3.htm

John 10:10
 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.
For the full NIV text click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/john/10.htm

Philippians 2:6-8
[Jesus Christ] though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!
For the full NIV text click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/philippians/2.htm

Isaiah 53: 3–
He was despised and rejected by people, one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness; people hid their faces from him; he was despised, and we considered him insignificant. …He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. All of us had wandered off like sheep; each of us had strayed off on his own path. …He was led away after an unjust trial but who even cared? Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the rebellion of his own people he was wounded. They intended to bury him with criminals, but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb, because he had committed no violent deeds, nor had he spoken deceitfully. …. My servant will acquit many,  for he carried their sins.
For the full NIV text click: http://niv.scripturetext.com/isaiah/53.htm

Parody: Fleetwood Mac: Silver Spring. This is for those of us who know people who are running away from God, filling their lives with things that can never satisfy, only cause heartache and trauma. I have a number of such people in mind — and one in particular right now. Jesus came to look for those who were lost: and that is our hope.

I would be your loving King

Truly loving …. see my Passion

I would be your only dream

Your defence … my sword is flashing.

And is this world enticing?

Do you find it fulfilling?

You know that isn’t so.

So you began not to love me

Turn around now; stop your running.

You know I loved you years ago

Look, see my arms stretching out for you

Does this world fulfil you?

And is it all that you’re wanting?

You know that that’s not so…. oh no.

Can you tell me: is it worth it?

You know I love you so.

I’ve placed my Name on you, and I won’t forget you

You know I want to love you, but you just won’t let me

I’ve placed my Name on you, and I won’t forget you

You know I want to love you, but you just won’t let me

I’ll follow you ’round ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you

(Give yourself a chance!)

You’ll never get away from the call of the Saviour who loves you

(Come on back to me!)

I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you

(I’ll haunt you; give yourself a chance!)

You’ll never get away from the call of the Saviour who loves you

[This is a parody of Immortality which I heard sung by Celine Dion on a Bee Gees album. Many people have been disappointed and hurt by people who have abandoned them – a husband, a father, a mother, etc. God’s love for us is an absolute; it’s undeserved; it’s unconditional: it doesn’t matter who I am, what I’ve done, what I haven’t done: He won’t say Goodbye. (Read Philip Yancey’s What’s so amazing about Grace?) Sometimes I get angry with God and it seems He goes away; usually I have to admit (very sheepishly) He’s giving me space to calm down from my tantrum. He hasn’t said Goodbye, and He’ll never say Goodbye. That’s His promise; that’s His nature; that’s my only hope.

C141 SV55  6 March 2010]

Yes, this is who I am
And yet You love me still
And I must choose to live
The life that You will give
It’s Grace that keeps me going

And I will stand for You, alone, I will,
Stand firm in my faith in the great I AM
For You’re my soul’s hope

And I will follow on your path that lies ahead
I will let myself by You be led
For you’re my soul’s hope

You won’t say goodbye
You won’t say goodbye
No matter what I have done

In Your Grace I stand
I make my journey through this desert land
You keep a firm hold on my hand
Till the end

You died and rose for me
You died to make me free
Though storms may never end
Through all You are my Friend
King of Kings
My Saviour

And You won’t say goodbye
You won’t say goodbye
No matter what I may do

And I’ll follow Your path that lies ahead
I will let myself by You be led
For You’re my soul’s hope

I’m sorry, Lord, for all the times I’ve gone astray,
Hand over my heart to Your own Way
For You give me Grace to live

In Your Grace I stand
I make my journey to the Promised Land
You keep a firm hold on my hand
Till then

You won’t say goodbye
You won’t say goodbye

No matter what I may do
It’s Your Love pulls me through

You won’t say goodbye

Hos 11:8  “How can I give you up, Israel? How can I abandon you? Could I ever destroy you as I did Admah, or treat you as I did Zeboiim? My heart will not let me do it! My love for you is too strong.

[I came across a photograph of a friend when she was a young mother. With her was her baby daughter. Their faces were inches away from each other, and they seemed absorbed into each other: intimacy. As parents know, things do not stay that way. As the child grows, the intimacy with the parent diminishes and also, very often, the intimacy with God, even when parents have tried to foster it. How does God respond?

C143 SV57     22 March 2010]

My Child —
Inches away on my lips
I feel the soft flutter of your tiny breath
As your eyes scan my face:
Security, warmth and endless love;
And you chuckle with life and promise.

My Child —
I yearn for that intimacy again
Where my Heart beats in yours;
Where your soul feels
The flutter of my Breath;
Where you seek my Face
And find peace and love and Grace
In your Father’s healing embrace.

Are you riding alone?
A long trip back to your home?
Full of regret for what you’ve done?
Always hiding and always on the run?

How much pain can a man take?
How much is enough heart-ache?
Come on, my Child, ride with me
Come on, ride My Road and be free.

Life’s full of twists and turns
And each bright new vista burns
To ashes dusty, dull and grey;
Haunting dreams that just never go away.

How much pain can a man take?
How much is enough heart-ache?
Come on, my Child, ride with me
Come on, ride My Road and be free.

Feel you’ve had your fair share
Lost in some hellish nightmare
Of skidding feelings, spinning wheels
In a screaming soul that never heals?

How much pain can a man take?
How much is enough heart-ache?
Come on, my Child, ride with me
Come on, ride My Road and be free.

I’ve ridden on your road,
Felt the pain, carried the load,
Suffered the wounds of friends’ betrayals,
I know just what it is that your life entails.

I know how much pain a man can take;
I know how much is enough heart-ache.
Come on, my Child, ride with me
Come on, ride My Road and be free.

C140    SV54
[20 February 2010]

[Luke 15: 11-32
Mat 11:28  “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest.  For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.”