Wednesday, July 18, 2012
The story is told about an angel walking down the street of Old Jerusalem with a torch in his right hand and a bucket of water in his left hand. Another angel saw him and asks, “What are you going to do with that fire and water?” The first angel replied, “With the fire, I’m going to burn down the mansions of heaven, and with the bucket of water, I’m going to put out the fires of hell. Then we’ll see who really loves God.”
What a thought! Do you have to have hell scared out of you or the promise of golden streets to make you love God? Is it enough for you to love and praise God simply because God is God. Is it enough to love God as the creator of the universe, including the good earth we live on. What does it take for you to really love God?
God has expressed love for us many times but never forces us to love in return. But our love is what God desires from us. To be in love with God can be the most exhilarating feeling one can have. Sadly to few people feel the full effects of that kind of relationship and their lives suffer from the lack of it. Do you truly love God? How do you express you love for God? Does your love flow from a heart filled with joy because of God’s great gift of His son Jesus?
Each Sunday when we meet, as Suburban Christian Church, the primary reason for meeting is to express our joy, praise and love for God. Come to worship to praise the Lord with a heart filled with love.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
You may be wondering poly-what? Polyphonic means many voices and is an accurate description of the Bible. We often think of the “Bible” as one book and as a very holy book and in the way we usually use it that is true. The Bible is actually much more than that one book. It is actually a whole library of books. There are at least forty-four authors of the written word and perhaps over a hundred when you count the oral tradition in the book of Genesis.
One way to read your Bible is to think of the “Many Voices” of the people in the Bible. These voices transcend over two thousand years of testimony as they describe their personal relationship with God. Each of these people had a powerful spiritual experience and shared that experience using their own words and the understandings of their times. Their worldview affected their choice of words to describe what happened to them. Because of the time laps of two thousand years the word choices changed as culture changed. Add another two thousand years of western culture and translations through many languages and you can see how understanding a particular testimony becomes more difficult.
To read the Bible in English as one book robs us of the true picture of their witness. We are most fortunate that we have scholars in the fields of history, language and archaeology to help us understand the worldview of our many voices of witness.
Open your Bible to find the “Polyphonic”
Monday, July 16, 2012
Jesus taught us to forgive to the “Nth” degree and I remember when an Amish community did just that. On the day that their school girls were shot to death at school a representative of the Amish community went to the family of the man who shot their children and forgave. Most people would be going to seek revenge but these people were true followers of Christ.
The loss of a child is the worst pain one can bare. When you think of the senseless murder of school girls by a man mere understanding is beyond the pale. Yet true to their faith in Christ they expressed forgiveness. To top that off they requested prayers for the family of the man. One mother said, “If I do not forgive him then I will not be forgiven.” When one holds on to anger toward another person that anger becomes a barrier between that person and God. The teachings of Jesus break through those self imposed barriers.
What a witness of faith! I tip my hat to the Amish community. Even though I do not wish to live their life style I do much admire their faithfulness to the teachings of Jesus. Later the families of the dead girls went to the funeral of the man who shot them. We can all learn from their witness to Jesus being the “Lord” of their lives to the Nth degree.
Praise God for faithful witness and practice.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
A devotional booklet by Henri Nouwen called "Called to Live Called to Love." One of the lessons is on Patience and is one that many of us need to work on. Nouwen writes;
"Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something. Patience ask us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient, we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let's be paiten and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.
I am in awe to think of patience as an active agent. The idea of patience has been to be passive and quiet while what ever happens. Active patience is to live fully for God in this moment. That is not standing by waiting it is moving forward in serving God even in the midst of those who are not. May God help us to live graciously in the here and now.