By Revd. Joan – as published in the P&J 10th June 2017
“It’s all Greek to me” is a phrase used when we just don’t understand something , when we read the instructions and they make no sense. The church can be skilled at this but it’s not Greek that’s the problem – it’s Latin! Because many of our religious words come from Latin, these can be lost for lack of translation. We hide behind words like “redemption”, “justification”, “transubstantiation”, “trinitarian” but they carry little meaning for our daily lives.
“Salvation” is one of these. Think of that classic phrase “Are you saved?” Saved from what? Saved for what? I’m fine, thanks, so no thanks!
Salvation can be understood in two ways – God is described as our rock and our salvation (Psalm 89:26) to whom we cling when all is chaos around us. We hide behind this rock safe from everything that is going on outside. There are times when that is what we need and all that we can do. But that is to ignore another way of thinking about salvation which comes from the Latin salvusand means safe, healthy, unharmed.
How safe, healthy, unharmed is life in Aberdeen? Can we see our communities as broad spaces where everybody can live in safety? Jesus lived in a “broad space” despite the surrounding danger and crossed many borders willingly. This took him to the cross but led millions to follow that way which actually brings freedomas we claim our “salvation” – the right to be in a broad space in freedom, safety and health – and to find calm in the chaos which can surround us.
Apologies for the Latin lesson but it’s good to know our roots!
Reverend Joan Lyon