Something about shorthand

Something about shorthand

In Year 12 English Literature, I was seated in a triangle formed by the top student in the class, the second top student, and me.

These two students were completely different in approach yet, when it came to being assessed for the strength of their academic work, about the same.

David was full of sound and fury and clearly signifying something as he invariably locked away the top mark. His essays were tomes; screeds of A4 pages that often stretched to fifteen in length for a regular mid-week assessment.

Page after page of (I’m guessing) strong and insightful analysis of Shakespeare, of Manley Hopkins, of Donne, Stoppard, Lawler and the like.

David’s approach seemed easy enough to spot: write long enough, cover enough bases, articulate insights comprehensively, stay up late enough, and you’ll probably win.

Then there was Richard. I sat beside Richard. We ran 800s together and dragged out the best in each other. Richard’s essays looked as though he’d accidentally dropped the lion’s share as he was leaving for school that morning. Rarely did they fill a page. By the time they were marked, though, it was hard to read too many words. They were covered by the ticks and restrained enthusiasm of our beloved, long-serving teacher, Mrs B.

Richard was the epitome of succinct. No need for volume and bluster when you can nail the subject at hand with that level of conciseness. I marvelled at his brevity and brilliance. And his little, compact left-handed writing.

It takes courage to give a short account and confidence that it will be enough. In fact, better than enough—that it will be the full expression of all that needs to be said on the matter.

At the end of John’s gospel, he writes something as a bit of a postscript to his account.

Now there were also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them written, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

John 21:15

Jesus incarnation was God’s shorthand of Himself. And not just a little bit, all of it.

John says that there’s far more that hasn’t been said than has, but what has been said is sufficient to reveal the character, nature, purpose and mission of God in Jesus. It may not tell us Jesus’ definitive stand on every single issue (which sometimes results in us putting words in his mouth that line up with our agenda), but it is undeniably clear that on the issue of grace, Jesus votes ‘yes’. His Word tells us that God, the eternal Word, put on skin to be with us. Emmanuel. Incarnate. God with meat. Not full of sound and fury, but full of grace and truth.

Is there more to say? Of course. Is there enough to know Him and the power of His victory over sin and death? Enough to be like Him, walk with Him, be lead by Him and trust in Him? Emphatically, yes.

+ There are no comments

Add yours