Greater works than these

In John 14:12 Jesus tells his disciples “…he who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to my father.”

We see an example of this

Matthew 9, Luke 8, the woman touching the edge of Jesus’ coat is healed from 12 years suffering.

In Matthew 14:36 many seek healing at the touch of His coat.

By direct comparison,

Acts 5:15 “… they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.”

 

Walking on water can’t be directly compared to what sounds like Holy Spirit teleportation after Philip baptised the Ethiopian in Acts 8:39,40, but still, teleportation is cool.
Why do we seek ‘nearly as much power as Jesus demonstrated on earth’ when He specifically said we would do greater works than his?

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The Chrono-Gnomes: Chrognomes

They had fled the disasters on earth, or rather their great-great-grandparents had. Some of those disasters natural, some civil. The Great Portal was the best option, the mars project was too expensive, the Portal mostly just manipulated the natural instabilities in the fine fabrics of space-time. Many didn’t even get that option.

They were told that Great Portal would carry them far through space, to a new world. They were also told that it was safe, which fortunately turned out to be true, not that those who made such promises had mentioned testing it.

They had arrived in a strange place with giant plants, and slow giant animals. It was a while before they even started guessing what had happened and where they were, even once they started to half recognise some of the flora and fauna. It wasn’t until halfway through the fourth slow year that they had mostly figured out the full story, that the Great Portal had transported them through time and had changed how they fit into both space and time. They had become smaller (approximately one third of original size as was later worked out) and passed through time faster (about twice as fast), hence everything else seemed both bigger and slower.

As their population grew and spread out, they fortunately managed to preserve most of the knowledge that they had brought with them, especially histories, remembering who they were (or had been), and some of the science.

Once they started seeing humans, or “big people”, and their settlements, they could guess as to when they had been carried to. The big groups of soldiers with plumed helmets and big square shields were a good clue.

The other important thing about finding big people, especially when their own population was growing, was the need to avoid discovery. The science that they had kept was useful for that, as it had been in coping with the agricultural challenges of the different relative time. The big people’s slow reaction times were also useful in avoiding their attention.

The third generation had started to see more variety in their populations than the preserved science told them to expect, even the more exaggerated estimates. The fourth generation saw even more, and with the communities continuing to spread out, the different populations were tending in different directions, some getting slightly shorter on average, some getting slightly pointy ears.

It wasn’t until this generation that some people were now suggesting that they were, or rather their grandchildren would be, the gnomes and dwarves of old human legend.

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Tales from Mount Earth and Surroundlands: part 7

Once they were on the move again, they started studying the maps more closely, of the Rim and of the near Surroundlands.

The Rim Kingdom that they had just visited the capital of, had another major city sitting right on the Rim.

 

Eventually they reached The Rim. The road didn’t descend from the middle of the city, but a little way out from it, clockwise along the Rim. There was a large rimfall to their right, further clockwise, a sea rimfall which when seen for one’s self looked both more amazing and much more terrifying than the artwork they had seen.

One of them had to ask the question,

“If the water is always falling over the edge, then why doesn’t it run out? What supplies all the water or brings it back?”

“Magic of course.” Was the answer.

They could see some white shapes down below.

“Are those snowy mountains at the base?”

“They look too fluffy for mountains, no sharp edges. Maybe they’re sheep.”

“I think we’re probably too high to see sheep from this distance.”

“Those are clouds….. probably quite big clouds if we can actually see them for right here at the top.”

No-one replied for some time.

Eventually someone said

“I feel like we’re in…um… The Silver Chair”

 

They were given final instructions before they left

“On your way down you’ll pass through the cliffhanger villages of Narrow Ledge and Ledge. Two of you will have mailbags for them, and the villages will feed you, the other bags are going all the way down.”

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Tales from Mount Earth and Surroundlands: part 6

While they were sitting in the back of the mail cart, they had maps to study, of each of the cities that they’d be passing through. They would have to do some short local deliveries in each, while the horses were being changed.

They also had some more of the scroggin stuff to snack on, or trail mix, as the American member of their group called it.

They were given relatively safe neighbourhoods to deliver in at each city, although obviously they still had to split their group. They soon decided to make a competition of it, with the local postmaster being the judge at each city.

As they got closer to the Rim, some of the cities, and even some of the smaller towns and villages, started to look better built, not so much built just for war. The architecture spoke of both good defence and a strong mercantile and academic presence, as if military was still something to be considered, but wasn’t the most important thing.

When they reached a Rim Kingdom Capital, they decided to stay a few extra days to see if they could learn any more.

They were given some similar information to what they had as already learned, but gained some new information as well. For example they learnt more about the rumour they’d heard about cracks moving.

“Not all crack borders move. And of those that do, not all of them move on both sides.”

Their puzzled looks implied that further explanation was required.

“In your world and this world. A border might always be at the same place in your world, but never in the same place in this world. Or vice versa. You might be able to find the same place again from here, but it takes you to a completely different part of your world.”

They also learnt a bit more about Mount Earth in general.

“Working together with the Postal Guild, we managed to discover the circumference of Mount Earth. The useful thing about Seven League Boots, from an academic perspective, is that when active, they always step exactly seven leagues.

It turned out to be thirty nine thousand, four hundred and ten leagues. Your world, the cracks and the rim.”

“Also, we calculated, with some estimation, that the height is about eight thousand leagues. Although some of our estimates must have been off, because we have learned from our surroundland counterparts that it is notably more than that.”

They also noticed some landscape artworks that were presumably of various parts of The Rim. Seemingly bottomless cliffs, and sea sized waterfalls that looked like they fell into nothing.

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The Vent

Well before the ship got too close to the cone, the bats found that it had beaches to land at. As they got even closer, they echoed a scattering of some mushroom tree things and even what seemed to be one or two huts.

Once the ship was close enough to see the shore of the cone island, they saw a few lights on the beach, then they noticed what looked like figures.

The figures soon seemed to notice the ship and started waving at it. When the ship got close enough, the figures helped them land, and then introduced themselves as Grog, Blog, Golg and Brundergrum, who it turned out was the daughter of Mullugutherum.

The same Golg and Mullugutherum who had been first to meet the overlanders after they had defeated the slaver empress and had been warden under her. Golg was very old now and had needed “a bit” of assistance from the younger gnomes with the climb, although all gnomes were reasonable climbers.

They had found, with help from the salamanders, a vent from Bism, all the way to Cavernsea or “the shallow lands” as they called it.

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Underland of Narnia: The Cone

A Narnian ship was sailing in the Cavernsea, much further west than most voyages went, but not much further north than Cavernport. Three bats were with them, although they hadn’t echoed any islands recently.

Suddenly Wingsong Echo echoed something conical in the distance ahead of her. She signalled her brother Flutternote Echo and he flew over to check before they flew back to report.

“Something conical? Like a stalagmite?”

Asked the mate.

“But you don’t get stalagmites in the middle of the sea…”

They turned to the direction that Wingsong and Flutternote gave them.

On the next shift, the third bat, who was called Richard Ping (a strange name for a bat, but apparently he was named after ‘Uncle Richard’, a human who had been a close friend of the Ping family), flew with them to get another echo of the cone. But they still got some strange blurring in their echoes. The flight back to the ship seemed to take slightly longer than they felt it should.

After they had spent some hours discussing what the cone could be, the captain got up, stood still for a moment, and then climbed up to the forecastle and a moment later called out.

“Do you feel that? Because that’s something I’ve never felt on the Cavernsea before. That feels like a breeze.”

 

The breeze explained why the return flight had taken the bats longer than usual. However it wasn’t much use to the ship, which was built for rowing rather than sailing, as breezes were very rare on the Cavernsea.

As the ship gradually pulled closer the bats started to make a bit more sense of what they were echoing. The blurring in their echoes seemed to be mostly at the to of the cone and the mild blurring lower down could perhaps be explained by the air currents, which seemed to be getting stronger as they got closer to the cone.

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My Faith, Our Faith, Shield of Faith

In Ephesians, Paul refers to faith as a shield. We know various types of shield, the kite shield popular among medieval Knights (especially in movies), the sci-fi force-field often referred to as a shield as well as the shields which would have been known of at the time. The Israelites in the past would have used simple round shields or bucklers to provide some basic protection for one individual, however in the time when Ephesians was written, they would have been familiar with the Greek phalanx use of shields which the Roman legions improved upon with various group shield formations probably using the Roman tower shield. Each legionnaire would use his large shield to protect not only himself but also his comrades next to him and the group would work together as a whole to protect the whole group. We also see some similar tactics by the dwarven army in PJ’s version of The Battle Of Five Armies, and it looks awesome.

Considering how the Bible talks about unity and the church working together as one body, our faith should probably be cooperative as well as individual.

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