mandag 25. juli 2016

"A Gospel according to Hairfair?"

One of the first stories from the age of the Vikings I can remember hearing, was the story of Harald Hairfair (1). He made the vow that he would not cut his hair until he had conquered the whole of Norway and made it one kingdom. This took of course more than a couple of weeks and according to the storytellers resulting in a remarkable mane of hair, which left him with the nickname “Hairfair”. The story left me, still a preschool boy, with vivid imaginations of how the famous Viking-king looked.

I was about the same age when I heard the story of Samson. He also left his hair to grow due to a vow. But it took me some years before I knew that this was a Nazirite vow (2) that Samson, like several of the biblical personalities (e.g. Samuel and John the Baptist), had been committed to for a lifetime. It is likely that it was much more common that a temporary vow was made. For the purpose of seeking the Lord’s guidance, a person would dedicate himself and make a vow for a period of minimum of 30 days.

It is interesting to note that Paul kept this tradition also after he was converted. It indicates that he stayed a Messianic Jew:

… he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken.
Acts 18:18
Luke's narrative does not tell if Paul did this for his personal benefit, or if it was done out of pragmatism (3) to please the Jews. But there is much to suggest that Paul, for his own sake lived as a Jew (4), and that it was motivated by his desire to reach the hearts of all men with his message:
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
1 Cor 9:19-23
‘Manna’ for today:
I want the whole of my life to be motivated by the Gospel.
(1) Wikipedia: Harald Hairfair
(2) Numbers 6:1-21
(3) See: “Fanaticism and pragmatism”
(4) Acts 21:24-26

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