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The Snake and the Love of God
John 3.14-21

‘And mind you watch out for snakes!’

My wife gave me a final warning before I set off into the hills. The footpaths had been closed for several months because of a widespread and infectious animal disease. Many creatures that normally kept away from regular footpaths had, apparently, spent the spring enjoying a new-found freedom. We don’t have many dangerous snakes in the British Isles, but the viper is dangerous enough. And, to be honest, I didn’t know exactly what I would do if I met one.

Fortunately, I didn’t see one on the walk. But it sent my mind back to the way in which the symbol of the snake has been used in many cultures over many thousands of years. From the snake in the Garden of Eden to the serpent Ananta in some branches of Hinduism, to the mythic serpent-ancestor of the Aztecs and the ‘old god of nature’ in parts of Africa to this day; from poetry to art and medicine, not least psychoanalysis; the figure of the serpent or snake has haunted human imagination from time immemorial...

Taken from John for Everyone – by Tom Wright

Publisher: SPCK - view more
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