Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Vibe of Aaron

Brother of Moses, High Priest and worker of miracles, Aaron still manages to blend into the background of the Bible. Left behind by his mother Miriam when she is dragged off to Pharaoh’s palace to look after his baby brother, Moses, he clearly harbours no bad feelings and is happy to jump into action as Moses’ spokesman and PA. As well as being the mouthpiece for his tongue-tied brother, Aaron is chosen to be the High Priest for the Israelites as they wander in the Sinai desert in search of the Promised Land. As priest, Aaron must wear an elaborate costume, arguably one of the most intricate suits of clothing ever made. The vibe is that God, being God, deserves the very best. And sadly, this is where Aaron lets God and himself down. While Moses is having a lengthy one-to-one with God on the top of Mount Sinai, the Israelites get homesick for their years of captivity in Egypt and force Aaron to construct an idol made of gold. Fortunately for him, his little brother is on such good terms with God that he persuades him not to destroy everyone. Aaron also has in his possession a staff that has magical powers, a little like a Biblical light saber. To demonstrate to Pharaoh that God is with the Israelites, Aaron’s staff turns into a snake. Later, Aaron waves his rod like a wizard’s wand and brings plagues on Egypt. Finally, the stick blossoms and sprouts almonds, suggesting that Aaron and his descendants should be Israel’s High Priests forever. Sadly for Aaron, as he and Moses get impatient with God for not bringing them into the Promised Land sooner, they both die before they get there. A useful, behind the scenes stage management vibe, albeit a bit of a shabby one.

General vibe of Aaron: Moses’ big brother

Factvibe: Along with the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments and some manna, Aaron’s rod now resides in the Ark of the Covenant (wherever that may be)

Almonds

Almonds. One of the many amazing by-products of Aaron’s magical walking stick

Advertisements

The Vibe of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

These three vibes are packed carefully in camels’ saddlebags and transported across the Arabian Desert to Bethlehem by an unspecified number of mysterious astrologers known only as the Magi. The vibes are expensive – gold is as rare in Bible times as it is now and frankincense and myrrh are also precious and hard to come by.  These are gifts that are suitable for a king, and the Magi could be forgiven for thinking that something as grandiose as the Star of Bethlehem must be, at the very least, the portent of a royal birth. Gold is expensive yet universal, but frankincense and myrrh are much harder to find: both are aromatic tree resins whose vibe is found only in the southern Arabian Peninsular and in the northern part of East Africa. However, Bible boffins believe that these are not just high status gifts for a king, the gold, frankincense and myrrh have a special symbolism too. As the ultimate precious metal, gold represents kingship and Jesus is later heralded as King of the Jews. Frankincense is a specially consecrated perfume, one of the few that is allowed to be burned in the Temple and so it may be seen as a nod to Jesus’ eventual role as ultimate High Priest. Myrrh was used during the process of embalming and this gift can therefore be seen as a flash forward to Jesus’ death. History doesn’t relate the reaction of Mary and Joseph to such extraordinarily opulent gifts, or whether the Baby Jesus enjoyed playing with them.

General vibe of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh: The first Christmas presents.

Factvibe: In 243BC, Greek king, Seleucus II Callinicus, presented gold, frankincense and myrrh to the god Apollo at the temple in Miletus.

Myrrh2

So this is what myrrh actually looks like. Who knew?

The Vibe of Mary and Martha

Not to be confused with any of the other five Marys mentioned in the Bible, this vibe is about Mary of Bethany and her older sister, Martha. The women make three appearances in the Bible and are obviously very close to Jesus. The vibe kicks off when the sisters invite Jesus to the home they share with their brother Lazarus. Martha busies herself with the catering and making the place look nice while Mary settles down to listen to Jesus teach. This gets Martha’s back up – after all, why should she do all the hard work while her lazy little sister gets to have all the fun? Jesus tells Martha that she needs to get her priorities right, and that Mary was doing the right thing by simply appreciating the vibe. We next meet the sisters after their brother has died. Martha finds Jesus out on the street and tells him off – if he’d arrived sooner then maybe Lazarus wouldn’t have died. It’s an emotional moment that gets turned upside down when, incredibly, Jesus brings Lazarus back to life. A little later on, Mary empties a whole jar of expensive perfume over Jesus’ feet and then dries them with her hair. Now with a much better understanding of who Jesus is, Martha keeps quiet, but still insists on clearing up after everyone. A sisterly, slightly squabbly but ultimately winning vibe.

General vibe of Mary and Martha: Sisters will be sisters

Factvibe: Many believe the perfume incident involved Mary Magdelene, not Mary of Bethany.

Hardworking vibes meet laid back ones. Tension ensues.

Hardworking vibes meet laid back ones. Tension ensues.

The Vibe of Angels

Angels are God’s messengers. Their vibe is one of goodness, love, and protection. They show up like stage hands throughout the Old Testament, getting the job done. Who cares if the job that needs doing is guarding a tree, destroying a city or feeding a prophet – like a divine production company, angels are the people who make it happen.

In the New Testament their vibe is more one of information. Angels announce the births of John the Baptist and Jesus and show up en masse to tell a group of shepherds in Bethlehem that the birth of Jesus has just happened. An angel comforts Jesus on the night before his arrest. Angels roll the stone away from the tomb after Jesus has come back to life and an angel is on hand to show Jesus’ followers that the tomb is empty.

After Jesus has disappeared into Heaven, an angel frees Peter from prison and any number of angels are on hand in the Book of Revelation to unlock scrolls that explain how things are going to pan out when Jesus comes back. Angels look after us and the vibe is that we all have angels in Heaven who look out for our wellbeing. A nice, comforting yet informative soft towel after a cold swim kind of vibe.

General vibe: To protect and serve.

Factvibe: There is no mention anywhere in the Bible of angels having wings. 

General vibe of Angels: the Bible's backstage roadies

General vibe of Angels: the Bible’s backstage roadies

The Vibe of Titus

Titus shares much of the same vibes as Timothy. Different town, same story. Titus is on the island of Crete and has the job of finding leaders to look after the church there. He’s faced with the same kind of spiritual halfwits that Timothy has had to deal with in Ephesus and Paul dishes out the same advice as he always does – tick them off and show them the truth about Jesus by being a good example.

Paul offers some advice to give old people – be sensible, self-controlled and stay off the booze. The vibe he offers young people is for the women to love their children and husbands and for the men to exercise self-control. Slaves are also bundled in to this vibe, they have to obey their masters and not be an embarrassment to God by being cheeky or dishonest. Our past is our past, Paul says and our future is one of happiness through the vibes of self-control and godliness.

Paul reminds us that it is God’s love and not anything we have done that has saved us from our old life. Finally we should avoid pointless arguments and live useful lives full of good deeds. A positive, matter of fact, common sense vibe.

General vibe: Be a good example.

Factvibe: Titus is last heard of spreading the vibe of Jesus to the people of what is now Croatia.

Sun, sea, sand, vibes!

Sun, sea, sand, vibes!

 

The Vibe of Romans

Romans has the vibe of a mission statement. ‘Jesus has spoken, now what?’ It’s a letter written by Paul to the Christians in Rome. These people aren’t Jews so they haven’t got a huge amount of background about God, and Paul is explaining the Christian vibe to them.

Paul believes that Jesus is for everyone, as long as they have faith – if we believe Jesus died and came back to life because of all the bad things we’ve done, we get on the right side of God. Being on the right side of God brings with it all kinds of positive vibes not least of which is that believers are more peaceful. That’s because they have been forgiven their unsavoury pasts and have been assured that they’ll be with God forever.

Romans also has a ‘this isn’t good enough’ vibe – Paul is cross that in general, the Gentiles are more open to Jesus than the Jews. By rights, the Jews should know better seeing as they’ve had the benefit of hundreds of years of Old Testament prophets telling them Jesus will come and make everything right for them.

The vibe then turns to some basic housekeeping tips for the early church – love everyone, respect authority, don’t judge each other and help the weak. A practical, straight down the line, ‘this is how it’s done’ vibe.

General vibe: How to be a Christian.

Factvibe: Despite living in a male dominated culture, one third of the 21 Christians Paul greets in his letter to the Romans are women.

How to live - vibes for a peaceful life enclosed

How to live – vibes for a peaceful life enclosed

The Vibe of the Gentiles

The Gentiles have a pretty un-Jewish vibe, probably because they aren’t Jews. The New Testament splits people into two camps – the Jews who should really believe that Jesus is the Son of God but who often don’t, and the Gentiles who have no reason to believe that Jesus is the Son of God yet sometimes do. Paul gets pretty shirty as it is the Gentiles who seem more open to believing the Jesus story than the Jews who’ve supposedly been waiting for this moment all their lives.

The Gentiles referred to in the New Testament generally hang out in Greece, Rome and Turkey and their willingness to be part of Team Jesus shows that they are open to fresh ideas as long as those ideas make sense. In fact, without the Gentiles, there probably would be no Christianity. Powerful, open minded, suck-it-and-see vibes.

General vibe: They’re not Jews.

Factvibe: Despite being a direct ancestor of Jesus, Ruth was a Gentile.

Gentiles: a 'suck-it-and-see' vibe

Gentiles: a ‘suck-it-and-see’ vibe