50 Great Biblical Themes

50 Great Biblical Themes Acceptance ‘Seeing the broken, battered prodigal hauling himself up that long, hard road, the kind father ran, and threw his arms around his lost child…’
An army of prodigals, limping home, day after day after day. Soiled, empty, weary of our own attempts to make life work. Unsure if we’ll find a welcome, hopeful for home, longing for love, for open arms, for that voice that says, ‘Welcome, you’re just what we’ve been waiting for, come on in. Be at peace. You’re okay, let’s rebuild, start again.’

50 Great Biblical Themes Rest ‘For all the tired, the worn down, the burned out, those lost in life’s rush and hustle…’ In our small worlds of pressure and achievement, and the voices that urge us on and drag us down, one voice whispers to us. Stop. Press the pause button. Look for the ancient paths. The tried and tested ways. Step into my shoes as I have stepped into yours. Breathe in the fresh air of another way. Unforced grace. Total acceptance and affirmation. Rest for your souls.

50 Great Biblical Themes Laughter ‘A good laugh can heal a lot of hurts…’ That great gift, triggering those healing endorphins within us. An audible smile shared, sometimes giggled, sometimes guffawed. Suppressed in a library or exploding in a moment of side-splitting joy. Mirth ignited by life’s unexpected nonsense; or when we take ourselves so seriously we trip over our overly earnest feet. A holy, healing thing.

50 Great Biblical Themes Faith ‘These three remain, faith hope and love…’ We all have it, all use each day. Mingled with imagination, mixed in with vision. Seeing what has not yet come to pass, holding on to more than the present moment, more than the visible now. Friendship, each new dawn, that burst of light when we flick a switch. We believe. One of the great three, along with hope and love. Within each of us, tucked away, the capacity to reach beyond ourselves, for more.

50 Great Biblical Themes Living Water ‘Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink. Even if you have no money. Come to me and drink.’ The kind of refreshment that is free to all: rich, poor, weak, strong. Touching those deep places within us that are so hard to reach. The kind of refreshment that leads to a different way of living, a different way of life. Like water bubbling up from a spring in the driest land, the most arid of deserts, an oasis of hope. Water that rises up within each of us, spilling out and refreshing other people and places too.

50 Great Biblical Themes Control ‘I wouldn’t call myself a control freak, but can I just show you the right way to do that…’ The struggle, the wrestling with ourselves to keep a hold on everything. The seed tumbling into the ground and dying, not so that it may disappear and be forgotten, but in order that it may grow, be reborn, become fruitful. The misunderstanding of humility. Not a trampled, scuffed doormat. But power under healthy authority, strength under control. The wisdom of letting go. Shunning the peer pressure of pride and ego. The risk of offering an open hand instead of a closed fist.

50 Great Biblical Themes Pentecost ‘The sound of a rushing wind filled the place…’ For life. For hope. For freedom. Respect, generosity, justice, dignity, compassion. A bunch of ragtag folks without all the answers, ambushed by love, by a gentle power that picks them up, dusts them down, and gives them a new dawn. The strength to go on. And more. The strength to change things. The strength beyond their own.

50 Great Biblical Themes Uncertainty ‘In the deserts and the deep waters I’ll be there.’ So many knowing what it is like when the walls of certainty collapse. When the ground of their being shakes and crumbles. Knowing that to follow you can make life harder not easier at times. Not promising a joyful rollercoaster ride. But hope amidst the chaos, direction in the darkness, comfort when all else fails. A rock to cling to, an anchor in the storms.

50 Great Biblical Themes Darkness ‘We can curse the darkness, or light a candle…’ For all of us afraid of the dark, and perhaps all of us are afraid in various ways of various versions of the dark… the dark is not so to him. The night is like day. The gloom is a place of possibility. Against all odds there is light. He is not afraid of the grimmest of places, the most oppressive corners. His presence can be found everywhere. No god-forsaken turf in this universe. The light has broken through, stepped into this world, and darkness, though it rises like a spectre, cannot win.

50 Great Biblical Themes Glory ‘The splendour of heaven right here on earth.’ The unexpected, startling wonder of a God who would not keep his distance. Who would not hold back. Instead getting his hands dirty; grit under his nails, sweat on his brow, rings under his eyes. Touching the rejected and despised and the hurting. The glory of moving into our neighbourhood. The glory of coming so close he upset those who would want him distant. Coming so close he could breathe on us. And smile and give us life.

50 Great Biblical Themes Tears ‘He will never break a bruised reed or snuff out a smouldering candle.’ The one who knew the searing of a broken heart over a lost friend. One who knew tearful frustration over a people hellbent on destruction. Who knew what it is to stand alone in the darkness, his only companions misunderstanding, despair and false accusation. One rooted in reality. Making his home amongst the grieving and those crying out for something better. Listening to the lonely, respecting and lifting up those the world rates as not worth it, sitting down with those who only know tears.

50 Great Biblical Themes Uniqueness ‘Why fit in when you were born to stand out.’ Not just another model off the assembly line, each design different. Each of us wired up and understood. Strengths-weaknesses-personalities-&-passions. No one able to bring to this world what you can. What I can. What they can. Each a vital piece in life’s jigsaw. Without us the picture is incomplete. And so we are invited to take our place, to live our part, to offer all we are to the great Designer, ignoring the peer pressure. Strengths-weaknesses-personalities-&-passions.

50 Great Biblical Themes Worship ‘Hearts and minds; souls, wills and strength…’ All of us sailing in the same boat, worshipping one thing or another. Giving our time, talents, energy and resources to one thing or another. Created to do so, to be those people who give allegiance, seeking to belong to something beyond ourselves. Something bigger, something extra-ordinary. Finding meaning in a purpose, a source, a vision, a relation-ship. In the dark and the quiet, a Galilean regularly visited a wilderness to receive the tender voice of his God.

50 Great Biblical Themes Contradictions ‘Life is a mottled collage, a collision of hues and shades, bright and dull…’ We live them. The times. One set against another. Each alongside the other. The times to laugh and cry, build and tear down, sow and reap; stopping and starting, finding and losing, silence and noise, speaking up and shutting up. Chaotic, untidy, one time interrupting another. One contra-diction slamming hard against another. One pulling the rug, another lifting us back on out feet. Life’s smiles and sneers. Writ large across our lives.

50 Great Biblical Themes Catastrophising ‘Don’t tell me worrying doesn’t do anything, most things I worry about never actually happen…’ Like bumper cars on overdrive, bulls in the china shop of our wellbeing, our fears smash through our peace of mind. Hurtling headlong, sparked by the smallest crease in the map of today. Our heads and hearts set on fire with terror about just how bad this day, this night, might be. ‘Do not worry…’ The words echo somewhere in the distant background but reaching for them can be hard. Worrying comes so naturally, so easy for us. Trust can seem a like a far distant land.

50 Great Biblical Themes Failure ‘Failure: non-success, non-fulfilment, frustration, loss, life hitting the fan (again), universal, can happen all too regularly.’ A shared language we can all speak if the truth be known. We have all walked those corridors of regret, disappointment, questioning and ‘if only’. Plans that simply would not be willed into existence. People who could not be steered the way we think best. And sometimes, in the twilight moments of honesty, we have seen these experiences create conversations and build bridges into the lives of struggling others. In the shadow of one moment of historic failure, when loss was transformed into incredible gain.

50 Great Biblical Themes Empowerment ‘We hold this treasure in fractured vessels.’ May your extraordinary spirit continue to empower and inspire us to keep spreading your incomparable and life-enhancing love; in so many ways through so many gifts, talents and passions. Living water trickling out from the cracked and craggy temples of our chaotic lives reviving the dry and fractured land around.

50 Great Biblical Themes Wonder ‘When I notice once again, the sparkling glimpses of life in another day’s trudgery…’ Those small moments, when we catch our breath, smile, laugh unexpectedly. Those glimpses of the precious nature of life. Those views, those reminders of the size of everything. Of the vast nature of the universe. And the treasured nature of people. Those things that take us back to the days of childhood, when the world was new to us, when we explored and discovered and freely and regularly gasped.

50 Great Biblical Themes Loneliness ‘No one is an island, though we may often feel alone in a sea of busyness and distraction.’ The man of sorrow understands, has sat in our dust, walked in our lonely steps. Known misunderstanding and isolation. Known those feelings when others sidestep us or look for another to talk to. He knows rejection, experiences it every day. Knows what it is to wait alone. To feel as if we don’t fit in. A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He cares. Deeply.

50 Great Biblical Themes Confidence ‘Do not be worried and upset, I am with you. Wherever you go.’ And so we lift our heads, though so much can bring us down. And we take another step, though so much can hold us back. Not because we are impeccable heroes, calm, strong, unshakeable… but because he is. We often wander off the path, collapse in a heap somewhere, find ourselves in dark dead ends. But with him we can find our next step, our next breath, our next turning. He is on our side.

50 Great Biblical Themes Creativity ‘What we do in life echoes in eternity…’ In the beginning… when all was dark… light. And the rest is history. Years later… when all was dark… Jesus. And the rest is history. Weeks later, as the heavens opened and the creator from Nazareth melted from one reality to another… Pentecost. And you and I are invited to create history for the sake of one another. Making mistakes, crafting kindness, building a better world. One tiny, unique, improvised act at a time. And so the story goes on…

50 Great Biblical Themes The Bigger Picture ‘We see for now through a murky window…’ We make our way by torchlight. The beams of our own vision and guesswork lighting the next step, the next moment… you see the bigger picture. Eternal moonlight stretching across the universe and the ages, time standing still, reality displayed in Technicolor. Every moment, every purpose, every way back and every way forward. Enlighten our minds today we ask, show us the way, remind us of your strong and kind understanding.

50 Great Biblical Themes Treasure ‘Buried in a field, till we discover it…’ Some of us take years, decades to unearth it, digging a little each day. Some of us find it overnight. Some discover it very early in life, others in the last few minutes. Some of us find it, then lose it again. Some put it to one side then pick it up later. Some never let go. Some don’t understand what they have found. Some draw maps for others. We each carry it in the frail containers of our own being. Fragile and damaged. This precious, vital, life-giving treasure.

50 Great Biblical Themes Hypocrisy ‘Counting another’s sins won’t make me a saint.’ I often struggle with these games, feel the pressure to put on the masks and the costumes in life’s public performance. Easy to cast myself in a role, judge and jury of situations, an ‘expert’ missing the obvious truth of my own frailty and failing. Tricked into thinking I must adopt a look, a walk, a persona for the crowd. But a door has opened, a light continues to shine, a man called Truth has come to set us free. To dissolve our masks with his kind, strong and humble reality.

50 Great Biblical Themes Songs ‘Songs give us voice when our conversation fails.’ We may sing of truth, wonder, struggle, doubt, anger, torment, laughter, praise, awe, faith, adventure, loss, darkness, hope, love, rejection, beginnings, endings, questions, failure, triumph, peace, pain, rest, discomfort, home, exile, deserts, love. So many songs. So many things to say. Music unlocking our spirits, opening the blinds on the windows of our souls.

50 Great Biblical Themes Responsibility ‘Tread carefully through this world, with kindness and appreciation in your steps.’ The twin gifts of life and of freewill. Offered to us, to see what we might make of them. Great power and great responsibility. In the small acts and the great. To appreciate or disregard, to nurture or neglect. To build up or tear down, to plant or plunder. To sow the gentle, powerful seeds of peace.

50 Great Biblical Themes Blue Sky Thinking ‘I look up and see the vast work of your hands, and I know you care for us…’ We open our eyes, to remember, to look up, to see again… this vast and floating world we inhabit. Stopping. Looking. The colours, the shades and hues. The sun chasing the clouds, the clouds fighting back. The moon shooing the day away, the dawn seeping wonder across the fading gloom of night. The quiet shuffling of those white ragged pillows. Unhurried. Dallying, gliding, awesome gentleness. Reminding us we are small yet intensely significant.

50 Great Biblical Themes Time ‘A time for everything… to pause, to breathe to wait, to wonder, to hold the moment…’ A currency to be redeemed. Choosing to savour it, to hold it carefully. To share it, value it. Pressing the pause button as we step out of the traffic. Even for a second. For a moment. Resisting the tyranny of the pressure to achieve and perform. Turning the clock to serve Life’s good. For peace, forgiveness, space, friendship, solitude. Stepping into the sunlight of the God who is I Am. The present moment. Inviting us to breathe once more.

50 Great Biblical Themes Contradictions ‘Life is a mottled collage, a collision of hues and shades, bright and dull…’ We live them. The times. One set against another. Each alongside the other. The times to laugh and cry, build and tear down, sow and reap; stopping and starting, finding and losing, silence and noise, speaking up and shutting up. Chaotic, untidy, one time interrupting another. One contra-diction slamming hard against another. One pulling the rug, another lifting us back on out feet. Life’s smiles and sneers. Writ large across our lives.

50 Great Biblical Themes Hope ‘You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…’ More than wishful thinking and clutching at straws. Our eyes set on something more than mere matter. Something reliable. A source of strength and direction, a handful of eternal help. Wedged between love and faith, it lasts forever, placed in the One who slipped into despair, wrestled that beast, and lived again to tell the tale.

50 Great Biblical Themes A Helper ‘I’ll talk to my Father and he will give you a Friend…’ No longer alone. An encourager, a comforter, a strengthening presence. A guide, a counsellor, a force for good. A friend who nudges us, shapes us, moves us towards mercy, peace, reality and kindness. So that we may encourage and comfort and strengthen others, with the help we have received.

50 Great Biblical Themes Work ‘Work? Really? Again? Didn’t I just do that yesterday…’ So quickly life’s chores and pressures and achievements weigh heavy on us, the burden of so many thankless tasks. The clock-on-clock-off nature of what must be done. The sad fact that gifts and talents and abilities get buried in the scramble to survive. In the mystery of a long-lost garden labouring was once about achievement and creativity and satisfaction. May we still receive glimpses of this. Reminded that all we do is known and valued. And that one day there’ll be an endless future when work will be once more treasured, joyful and forever fruitful.

50 Great Biblical Themes Life ‘The best things in life are free…’ Everything upended, the rich poor and the poor rich. The great small and the small great. Fullness discovered in the unexpected places, in the footsteps of an unexpected man. Can’t be bought, sold, borrowed or stolen. Instead, a gift. A lens which alters the view of everything; changes reality, history and eternity. God in the dust and the sweat, glory in the gutter, hope nailed to two bits of wood, and breaking free from the tomb-like clutches of death.

50 Great Biblical Themes Blame ‘Blame is a game no one can win…’ All of us tarred with the same brush of imperfection. Falling over our feet. Our tongues running wild like forest fires. Our boot straps just not strong enough for pulling us out of the mire. On a hill of blame his voice echoes across the centuries. Takes the curse and lifts it from us. Again and again. A gift so precious we could never purchase it. So he does. ‘Father forgive them…’ The weight lifted, the burden broken. Free.

50 Great Biblical Themes Treasure ‘Buried in a field, till we discover it…’ Some of us take years, decades to unearth it, digging a little each day. Some of us find it overnight. Some discover it very early in life, others in the last few minutes. Some of us find it, then lose it again. Some put it to one side then pick it up later. Some never let go. Some don’t understand what they have found. Some draw maps for others. We each carry it in the frail containers of our own being. Fragile and damaged. This precious, vital, life-giving treasure.

50 Great Biblical Themes Doubt ‘I believe, help me in my unbelief…’ The loss of certainty as life shifts and blurs, ambiguity beckons, the questions becoming more important than the answers. It’s a language we can all speak. A way of making sense of our world when laughter and loss, smiles and sorrow jostle for their place in the same moment. So we may voice these questions, belittling their power, and placing them on the same platform as faith.

50 Great Biblical Themes Love ‘That’s the power of love…’ The patience, the kindness, the faithfulness of another. The forgiveness, the willingness to let us start again, try again, even though we may fail again. Someone always with us, through the good and bad, gritty and glorious times, in the froth and the foolishness, in the laughter, hope and tears.

50 Great Biblical Themes Money ‘Money can’t buy me love…’ The heart of it, the driving force, the can’t-live-with – can’t-live-without-it issue. The engine, or perhaps the oil of society. The servant rather than the master? The means for achieving so much for passing on so much, for building up and yet… for tearing down too. The currency for change?

50 Great Biblical Themes Grace ‘I once was lost but now am found…’ Gentle, powerful help as heaven touches earth. All of us in a pit and needing a hand to climb out. On a daily basis. Weak strength released to us as the unconquerable son surrenders to those who believe they are the powerful ones. Life unleashed in the hammering of nails and the dawn shifting of a deadly stone.

50 Great Biblical Themes Trust ‘I’ll be there for you…’ A delicate thing, sometimes robust, sometimes damaged or misused. Currency spent wisely. As we reach for a rock to hold onto, for friendship, purpose, wellbeing, direction. An antidote to destabilising fear. The first faltering steps towards relationship. The key to the door of our heart when that divine knock sounds, when the compassionate, reliable One calls, trusting us to trust him.

50 Great Biblical Themes Compassion ‘You’re my best friend…’ Giving up any claim to power and privilege, walking our streets, sitting in our dirt, feeling our fear, suffering our pain. Bringing the smile of God and the hand that reaches out to the lonely and the hurting. Living a gritty and lonely life of wonder, risk, misunderstanding, friendship and kindness.

50 Great Biblical Themes Perseverance ‘I get knocked down, but I get up again…’ Another mountain, another long day. Another same old dull mission, lack of purpose locks us in, crowds out any sense of direction. Why? When? How long? A trinity of questions loom like clouds blocking out any light. Yet another trinity urges us on. As it has urged so many others, on so many dull thankless days. Alongside us, with us in our trudgery.

50 Great Biblical Themes Calling ‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time given to us…’ To know our purpose, our place in life. To no longer grab at the advertised straw to build our feeble, flawed monuments. To be able to wash feet, knowing the world is ours, a gift, a chance to shine each in our own small ways. Appreciation ousting envy, gratefulness supplanting selfish ambition. A tough call, a moment by moment deciding.

50 Great Biblical Themes Death ‘What we do in life echoes in eternity…’ The sting ripped out on that rock-sliding dawn. The hope of another sun rising as a slaughtered son stepped free, the shackles broken now. A new birth possible. The end no longer the end. But a new dawn on offer to us all. The offer of a fresh start and an eternal destiny. For us.

50 Great Biblical Themes Generosity ‘A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal…’ Steve Maraboli We give and we get back. Smiles, friendship, strong and kind words, support, energy, a listening ear, a pat on the back, a shot in the arm, a hand on the shoulder. We know what it has meant when others have done the same for us. Rich not because we have much, but because we share so much. A man from Galilee laid a trail and we’re doing our best to walk in his footprints.

50 Great Biblical Themes Gratitude ‘Giving thanks with a grateful heart…’ For life, breath, purpose, meaning, encouragement, the strength to put one foot in front of the other, the ability to smile, to lift another up, to taste and see, to develop, to grow, to learn from our mistakes, to keep going, and for those who don’t give up on us. Seeing life with an open heart, as a gift, a precious thing. Our very breath an opportunity. Thankfulness the currency of hope. As if we have been bitten by the kind of bug that brings life, instead of destruction.

50 Great Biblical Themes Questioning ‘How long must we sing this song…’ Why is this the way it is? What is going on? When… what if… how long… the questions tumble from our lips and our living. A great part of our being and our believing. Room to wonder and to wrestle. Songs of honesty, searching and struggle. All a vital part of our faith. Refusing to settle for less, sensing that life is not the way it should be. So we bring our prayers and our praising, laced with longing.

50 Great Biblical Themes Exile ‘All the lonely people, where do they belong?’ When we don’t feel our face fits, when we feel like that square peg in that round hole, when discomfort is the wallpaper of our life… exile. When we feel lost and wandering. This world is not our home. We long for something more, something better, have a sense that life should be somehow richer, kinder, more colourful and satisfying.

50 Great Biblical Themes Value ‘You are so much more than what you own, buy or wear…’ Like a diamond in the making that no one has ever encountered before, a precious stone, rough around the edges but being daily shaped. Not perfect, but precious. Every life. Not merely a smudge on eternity’s page, but a work of art. Crafted. Beheld. Waking, sleeping, moving, stalling, in the dark and the light and the shade.

50 Great Biblical Themes Purpose ‘Get ready, because God is preparing you for something very, very small…’ The reason for it all, the reason for this day, this hour, this minute. The drive to do the small things and the large, to care, to take an interest, to do the unique things we can do. To know that it all matters. That if no one else sees the good and helpful things, there is one who does. And that is reason enough.

50 Great Biblical Themes Kindness ‘It is better to be kind than to be right…’ In a world littered with roadside casualties, every one of us a Good Samaritan. A currency free yet costly too. So many chances to be kindhearted, to tip the balance of blame and jostling for power. Offering mercy. As we have received it from a greater Giver. Heaven applauds every single small, strong and grace-filled act.

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