… birthdays. And as a kid growing up in the Valleys of Wales I was powerfully jealous of both.
A friend of mine had been born a ‘blue baby’ and fought with a ‘hole in the heart’. My uncle had needed a kidney removed and I’d been told you can survive on just one. So having two hearts was clearly better by far, and the Time Lord was clearly superior.
But two BIRTHDAYS! Wow! And she was the only one …
Or so I thought.
In my childish and ill-informed youth.
Until I came across a person that I came to view as the only Irishman found in the Bible … a man known too us as Nic O’Demus.
(Hang on a moment, I’m having you on. He was a famous Jewish leader, ‘Nicodemus’).
And that’s been a life-giving moment. So now I’ve still got one heartbeat, but I’m safe now to die and just like the Queen I’ve two birthdays. One I can remember very clearly, the other I’ve only really got a certificate for, but the one that really matters isn’t ‘official’ …
Jesus took Nicodemus fully head on, and put it to him straight:
“You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.'”
International religious teacher, pre-eminent amongst those guys in his own generation, and Nicodemus just couldn’t see His point either. (Religion this is NOT about, clearly!)
And Jesus left Nic. in a significant measure of confusion … (see John 3!)
But it obviously didn’t go away, and within three years Nicodemus stood up amongst his peers and risked his own kudos to speak out for giving Jesus a fair hearing (John 7:51)
And at the end of His life we think Nic. got the point (in John 19:39) and put his life on the line for the crucified Jesus …
So when you look at two birthdays … yes there’s privilege there. But it’s a privilege that’s open to all. Religious people like Nicodemus. Slutty women like the future disciple in Luke 7. And initial confusion’s not rare!
These people were glad to ‘get it’ in the end, and happy they’d not just let it slip.
Now Jesus doesn’t give them second hearts not quite! You don’t get made a Time Lord (by the way … they’re ‘pretend’, OK?) But He does give NEW hearts … because the old ones need taking away! New hearts that are happy to walk in God’s ways, not fighting and struggling every day …
But I think that’s another story for another day … for now why not check out John 3? http://tinyurl.com/5tzf9jv
And you can always catch up with me on FB at ‘Grace Church Llandeilo’ or e-mail me using the website (www.grace-llandeilo.org.uk) to discuss (even rant!) on the issues I’ve raised.
Have a great official birthday QE II. Happy second birthday, all you safe people!