Tag Archives: religion

Happy Holy…days

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“In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed, In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.” Exodus 15:13

As many look forward to a refreshing break over the summer, it’s good to remember that true refreshment comes through dwelling in holiness rather than a throwing off of restraint. The call to holiness is a call to happiness.

True holiness is experienced in four essential encounters.

  •  An encounter with “living force.”

 There is nothing dead about true holiness. It is a call to life. A call to the awesome. All the great works of God have been accomplished through men and women who had an encounter with this passionate revelation of powerful life force. Wild nature, transcendent worship, incarnate silence, living word and covenant fellowship can all renew us in such an encounter.

  • An encounter with “separateness.”

 The Hebrew word for “holy”, qadosh, means “to set apart.” We are called to be different. A chosen people, a holy nation, belonging to God. “You are to distinguish between the holy and the common “declares the Levitical law. (Lev 10:10) Many of us can feel continually condemned by such a law, painfully dogged by a persistent sense of a lack of holiness. Leviticus 10:10 has to be put aside Hebrews 10:10 which gives us the fantastic news that our holiness is already won for us through faith in the redemptive work and will of Jesus Christ.

 “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

 Rather than be continually worried about being polluted by the world, let us instead infect the world with our holiness.

  •  An encounter with “God-likeness.”

 Holiness has a God reflecting quality. “Be holy, for I am holy”(Lev 11:44) says the Lord, encouraging us to enter into His character. God-likeness is wholeness, and God has a passion for wholeness in every area of our lives. The idea of wholeness links very much to the word “shalom.” This Jewish greeting was much more than a simple “hello.” It was a desire for completeness; for right relations between men and creation.

The Orthodox theologian Paul Evdokimov, wrote the following:

“The power of divine holiness is a devouring flame that consumes all impurity; when it touches a man it purifies him and makes him holy; it brings him into harmony with the holiness of God-even into his likeness.” Another Paul, in 2 Corinthians 3:18 wrote: “we all,…beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his image from one degree of glory to another.”

  •  An encounter with “dynamism.”

 Holiness is on the move. There can be nothing “static” about the “ecstatic!” It gives us a sense of destiny and purpose. Holiness shows itself in action. It is the fuel of the Kingdom of God. Holiness is courageous in proclaiming truth and justice and working with others for good. John Wesley recognised that there “was no holiness but social holiness.” Holiness is a group event to be lived out in the rigours of the real world.

In the face of holiness we can respond in three ways.

Worship

Change (Repentance)

Mission

 May your holidays be truly holy days impregnated by these grace inspired responses. Isaiah had an incredible revelation of holiness as he saw the Lord upon His throne. Like many of us he found himself unholy yet infinitely loved. He worshiped, changed and boldly responded to the Lord.

“Here am I. Send me!”     Isaiah 6:8

 

This devotional owes much to Alan Kreider’s writings in “Journey Towards Holiness”

 

Wounds

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 “The wounds from a lover are worth it; kisses from an enemy do you in.”  Proverbs 27:6

A famous Christian lady, contemplating the beauty of Christ, once asked the Lord to grant her the grace of three wounds:

  1. True contrition
  2. Natural compassion
  3. Unshakeable longing for God

When we are looking for a prayer we often say:

“Come Holy Spirit.”

Do we know what we are asking for? What are you expecting to happen when you pray that prayer? Are you looking for an instant anointing or a submissive relationship? Have you ever considered that one aspect of this prayer may be leading you towards a greater wounding?

Surely an encounter with God’s holiness will lead us to repentance. In the Catholic mass, in memory of the story concerning the Pharisee and the tax collector, they have an act of contrition when they will symbolically “beat their breast” in memory of the justified one who cried out:

“Have mercy on me a sinner!”

Amazingly, the holy apostle Paul carried this wound throughout his life saying to his disciple Timothy:

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.”

Far from paralysing him in unhealthy condemnation, this wound released him into a growing revelation of grace.

“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Dove of the Ho...

Christ bore the wounds of compassion well before they took physical form on the cross. The Holy dove who revealed the loving Father was the same that put deep within him an inner wrenching of his being as he stood before the lost and loveless of this world. He wept at Lazarus’ tomb, tenderly grasped the hand of Jairus’ dead daughter and felt his heart crushed by the crowds of the unreached.

 

“…When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd.”What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!”        Matthew 9:36-38

 Sometimes, because of the fear of this wound, we become “Christian Buddhists”, detaching ourselves from the reality of suffering to enter our own comfort zone of non commitment, dwelling in our own personal “nirvana” of Christian friends, materialism, text messages and e mails. This detachment, like the sugary kisses from an enemy, does us in!

The only way to find release from the wound of compassion is to get on your knees and then get your hands dirty by crossing over into real interaction with the “huge harvest.”

All brides should be lovesick! If we are not lovesick, we make Christ sick!

Can you imagine Christ saying to his boring, scared, safe, middle of the road, nice, passionless church….

“You make me spew!” (Revelation 3:16)

And you thought you were the only one who got nauseous on Sunday! Morning sickness can also be one of the first signs of a new beginning!

I was once involved in a meeting of missionary leaders. I felt something was wrong with the time and one night I woke up with a picture of an immense pair of long woolly knickers…No, it wasn’t one of those dreams! I then felt the Lord, in a humorous way, give me the following words.

“These are passion killers! They are like your meetings!”

The bride in “Revelation 21:2″ is making herself ready; she is:

“prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her  husband.”

God is looking for the beauty of holiness, the sacrificial seeking of him in the dawn of each day, the  desire to obey and the pure faithfulness of love.

“Kiss me–full on the mouth! Yes! For your love is better than wine, headier than your aromatic oils. The syllables of your name murmur like a meadow brook. No wonder everyone loves to say your name! Take me away with you! Let’s run off together! An elopement with my King-Lover! We’ll celebrate, we’ll sing, we’ll make great music. Yes! For your love is better than vintage wine. Everyone loves you–of course! And why not?”     Song of Solomon 1:2-4

 

And why not love the Lord with holy abandonment?

“Crown Him the Lord of love; see from his hands and side,                                                                                             

 Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.       

 No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,                                                                                                                                                                                       

 But downward bears his burning eye, at mysteries so bright.”

 The Spirit and the bride say “Come!”

Come Holy Spirit!

taken from the devotional book,  “A Fruit in Season”

 

What is that in your hand?

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Successful ministry depends upon inner spiritual authority and depth. It is more about character than charisma. God constantly uses the events of our lives to disciple us into a deeper sense of his inner strength residing in our hearts through grace.

Authority comes through revelation not manipulation.

Moses

Moses (Photo credit: jimforest)

Exodus chapters 3 and 4 are such Biblical revelations taking us into the heart of God’s dealings with Moses in order to make him a true man of God. It all begins for Moses with a burning revelation of who God is. However the “burning wood” of the bush needs to become practical authority in the “staff” of Moses hand. Let’s look at the beginning of Exodus 4:1-9 which gives us some insight into Moses personal journey towards spiritual authority. It may well help us on our own personal trek with the Lord.

 “What if they do not believe me or listen to me…?”

 Moses begins like many of us with the fear of sharing his revelation. Many missionaries are in shut down mode because of a basic unbelief and fear that people will not respond to their message. We may do more training, conferences, set up prayer houses, and a host of other worthwhile activities, but we risk remaining on the periphery of genuine contact with our target culture. However, we will at some point have to confront the reality of speaking God’s word to other people.

 “What is that in your hand?”

Begin by accepting what is in your hand. Own your own character and history….Don’t fantasise about what you don’t have or can’t do.

 “Throw it down.”

There are seasons of abandon, of letting go and laying down our dreams and ministries before the Lord. Times of throwing down the masks and letting him take the initiative again.

 “It became a snake…”

What he feared happened! All hell sometimes breaks out! Our very “ministry” can become “hell”! Believe me this does happen. It is such a critical time. Perhaps we come face to face with our own sin and weakness, or get a revelation of the evil and danger around us. How will I react?

 “He ran from it…” 

Moses was human. He just wanted out. His knee jerk reaction was to run. When you want to run you can be sure that the Lord may have another option.

 “Reach out…and take it by the tail.” 

Moses' Rod Turned into a Serpent, illustration...

Moses’ Rod Turned into a Serpent, illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Face your fears head on. Grasp the nettle of your life. Confront the issues the problems and the people. Some folks keep running from their fears forever and make a ministry of it! At some time you have to stop running and reach out in faith to conquer your fears.

Are you a runner or a “reacher out”?

 “It turned back into a staff in his hand.” 

From fear to faith. Moses overcame his fear and reached out in faith. The very fear he ran from became the authority that would open a sea! The ministry that walks by faith through hell gains the authority to speak faith into other’s hell and makes a way for many to walk into freedom.

After learning the principle of faith overcoming fear, Moses gets a lesson on grace.

The revelation of grace and personal forgiveness is a key to spiritual authority.

 “Put your hand inside your cloak.” 

Moses takes an inward journey to his heart (Mark 7:21) and finds it sinful.

“It was leprous like snow.”

The great apostle Paul came to the conclusion that he was the worst of sinners, and when we truly begin to assess the motivations of our own heart we too will be discouraged by our shortcomings. So do we remain in leprous introspection and condemnation? Or do we respond anew to the call to repentance and grace?

 “Put it back into your cloak.”

Respond to grace and plunge your hand back into humble repentance as Naaman plunged into the healing waters of the Jordan. The crimson streams of Christ’s Calvary blood can indeed make the foulest clean.

 “It was restored.”

He breaks the power of cancelled sin! The sin is washed clean but the very Satanic, condemning power behind the sin is also put out of action. (“katargeo” – Romans 6:6)

One of Jesus’ first miracles was to change water into wine.  The last lesson Moses learns here is the principle of water into blood.

 “The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.

 Jesus’ blood soaked the ground of Jerusalem and manifested the spirit of sacrifice. The “water” of a superficial Christianity is called to become the victorious “blood” of a life laid down in sacrifice. Does our church have water or blood in its veins?

 “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;

They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”     Revelation 12:11

 So here we have three principles for growing in spiritual authority.

Overcome fear through faith.

Overcome sin through repentance and grace.

Overcome the devil through sacrifice.

Moses still had his battles. He had his own personal “Passover” in verse 25 when, before a nation could avoid destruction by putting blood on the doorposts, he had to avoid personal extermination by having blood put on his feet. When we walk in God’s purposes we need to be rigorous in personal holiness keeping faith with the covenant of grace.

May your staff be true.

What Shall I Pray?

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What shall I pray? Now…

John 12:27-32

Corcovado jesus

“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say?

What is your “now” today?

It may be happy, indifferent, busy, sad or troubled.

Jesus was confronted with heavy, difficult days. His heart lay hurting within as the crowds pressed in upon him wanting more. What on earth do you say today?

“Get lost everyone!…I want to hide!”

What do you pray?

“Father, save me from this hour?”

I feel happy with that prayer. It meets my very felt needs.

Jesus didn’t pray that prayer.

No…”

He looked beyond the visible, the present pain and turmoil, to the horizon of invisible purpose encapsulated in a significant “now”.

“it was for this very reason I came to this hour.”

To paraphrase Churchill, this was his “finest hour”, an hour when, like a grain of wheat, salvation would be sown into the soil of the universe.

We too have our “hour”. Everything in us wants to run away from the pain of the cross we may be carrying. The voice of our own self preservation and the safe, worldly advice of life’s commentators, encourage us to find a way of escape.

Dare we die with Jesus? Dare we sow our lives into heaven’s landscape? What do we pray?

“Father, glorify your name!”

Such a wild, senselessly extravagant prayer opens heaven. The passionate thunder of God’s heart accompanies sacrifice.

“Then a voice came from heaven, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again. The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.”

Before clinging instinctively at the prayer straws of “Save me”, find an inner grace and strength to throw yourself into a greater purpose, a greater glory. There is certain answer to such prayer…again and again. There is certain resurrection and multiplication in such a quest for the glory of the Father.

“Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.”

“Now”, is also the time to see the ultimate victory of Christ, driving out the prince of this world. “Now is the day of salvation” 2 Corinthians 6:2

For every sacrifice in troubled hours a power of salvation is released into the universe.

I’ll finish with a little story from a recent visit to Central African Republic:

“On Good Friday, after fasting and praying for several hours, a mixed band of black African Jesus’ made up of Bantus and Pygmies headed for a local village known for its violence and powerful magic. They told me that a renown local witch doctor had been paid to come to the village. This so called sorcerer specialised apparently in calling up thunder storms in order to kill people with lightning bolts! So, armed with nothing more than my Bible as a lightening rod, I joined my enthusiastic black African band of brothers to join the anarchistic fray of the village. Around 11 o clock at night they asked me to speak to the gathered crowd of about 300 – more or less the whole village. So, depending heavily on my lively translator I improvised an impassioned plea for folks to see the love of Christ emblazoned on the cross. Speaking from the gospel of John, chapter 12, I proclaimed: “… now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”

Something seemed to grip the atmosphere, and on that Good Friday night, Jesus was indeed lifted up afresh and about 50 spiritually hungry men and women literally rushed forward, almost trampling me in their enthusiasm to receive Christ as Lord and Saviour into their hearts.

And then…the moonlit sky clouded over and great, thunderless and mysteriously silent bolts of lightning began to illuminate the village. While my Western theology and worldview was being shipwrecked on the ocean of African experience, my brothers and sisters rose to the challenge, breaking out in a wild crescendo of prayer, praise, shouting, dance, drums and singing. Lightening and rain drops rained down upon us as we stood our ground, proclaiming that now indeed the “Prince of this world” was indeed cast out.

Around 2-o-clock in the morning something seemed to give. A loud voice rebuked the evil in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and the storm receded back into the night. All heaven broke out amongst us! Rejoicing welled up as if from the very ground itself, using the polyphonic voices of the Pygmies, the warrior drums and the dancing of a beautiful African bride under the star filled night to celebrate the ultimate victory of this very African Jesus!

Find your own prayer and victory…now!

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In the Arena

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“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again…who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly…”

 Theodore Roosevelt     1910

When Jesus stood on a mountain in Galilee and challenged 11 men to make disciples of all nations I think he was “daring greatly.” Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David and the whole cloud of witnesses from the past also knew about risking all for a greater cause. Daring greatly could be spelt, R.I.S.K, or to use the terminology of the book of Hebrews, F.A.I.T.H. Without “daring greatly” it is impossible to please God.

In these difficult times, many questions may invade our minds as  we look to do something with our lives in this world.

“How much money is behind me?”

 “What will others think of this?”

“Am I getting too old for all this?”

“Is my pension safe?

“What’s on telly tonight?”

 

Perhaps we need to put such questions aside for a moment and focus on the one question that matters.

 “What am I daring greatly for?”

 I’m sure that we can all look back on our various histories and bask in the fading light of past pioneer exploits. We may remember our hearts that were once burning with the passion of a first love. We may also know of folks who are still living on the frontline of prayer, vision and action. I remember driving around Paris on a busy day trying to find a place to park. Finally a space emerged and I pulled into it. I was overjoyed to find that the previous occupant had invested with generosity and that there was still an hour to go on the parking metre! Someone else was paying for my quick nip around the Eiffel Tower!

I think this might be a metaphor for our present life in this generation. We may still be living on the prayers and purpose of a previous generation. We may have found a free space but time is running out! Unless a new generation rises to the challenge of “daring greatly”, and puts the pennies of prayer and passion into the metre, we fill have to move on…or get a ticket!

In life it is not “dogged that does it” in the last resort, and it is not hard work; it is faculty, insight, gift, talent, genius. And what genius does in the natural world prayer does in the spiritual. Nothing can give us so much power and vision…Prayer is for the religious life what original research is for science – by it we get direct contact with reality.

May we find a renewed engagement in the arena of prayer and action.

 

 

 

 

Tell me your Dreams…

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 “We both had dreams,”they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.”Then Joseph said to them,”Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”         Genesis 40:8

God made us to fulfil our dreams. His creative love placed vision, ambition and passionate goals within our hearts. To add a bit to St Irenaeus:

“God’s glory is man fully alive…in achieving his dream”

Joseph interpreting the dreams of the baker an...

One of the saddest things about life is that most people have no context to fulfil their dreams. “There is no one to interpret them.” This leads to great frustration that expresses itself in the various evils and addictions that try and offer some relief to the inner pain of carrying an unfulfilled dream.

We are also sold bogus dreams. Here are three categories of counterfeit dreams:

The MTV dream.  Life is just one hedonistic video clip. If it feels good, do it now!

The Disney dream.  You can buy anything! Or as Madonna might say “I am a material girl, living in a material world.”

 The Twisted dream. This is religious zeal without love or the Holy Spirit. Hitler, Marx, the “Moonies”, inquisitions and Jihad’s would all come under this category. False Messiah’s, they drink on the untapped dream, the “hunger to die for a cause”, like greedy, intoxicated vampires.

God longs to reveal a “Kingdom dream” to our hearts.  A revelation of the King, of the Lord Jesus Christ, is the key to fulfilling dream.

The story of Joseph in Genesis gives us some great insight into how a “Kingdom Dream” is worked out. Read it through from Genesis 37 to 42. Let’s look at 4 principles.

  1. A dream is born in an environment of fatherly love.  “Now Israel loved Joseph…”
  2.  A dream needs anointing. This anointing is symbolised by “the richly ornamented robe”, which was given him. The Septuagint uses a Greek word “poikulus” here which is used in the New Testament to mean “manifold” or “diverse”. We find “grace in its various forms” in 1 Peter 4:10, “the manifold wisdomof Ephesians 3:10 and the trials of many kinds” of James 1:2. True anointing develops within a context of grace, wisdom and testing.
  3.  The death of a dream. Joseph’s dream was severely tested to the point of destruction by his jealous brothers. “Here comes that “dreamer”…Come now, let’s kill him…Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” Gen 37:19- 20 Joseph’s robe was dipped in blood and our “dreams” will also go through a cross to prove their authenticity. Christ’s very robe in victorious combat is “dipped in blood”. Revelation 19:13
  4.  The discipling of a dream. There was a huge distance between Joseph’s dream and Joseph’s character. To fulfil his dream Joseph had to go through a long process of “on the job” training. This included:
  • Learning to succeed in Egypt under a pagan master. Gen 39:3 He learnt the basic disciplines of life.
  • Learning to resist temptation. Gen 39:10. In the end it was his genuine desire for God which protected him from falling into sin and losing his dream. Intimacy and holiness protect our dreams.
  • Learning to succeed even in a “narrow place.” Gen 39:23. Don’t crave a wide platform. Learn to succeed in the ordinary, narrow duties of everyday life….even if it feels like a prison sometimes.
  • He learnt to make space for others in interpreting their dreams. Gen 40:8. This was Joseph’s finest hour. He had come of age. Instead of having his eyes fixed on his own personal vision he began to listen to others, using his gifts to create a context for their dreams. He himself became a disciple maker. The good news is that in giving time to interpret the dreams of others he himself ended up fulfilling his own greater dream. If we or our churches and movements want to fulfil our dreams we must create an environment which disciples others and releases them into their Kingdom dreams. As soon as Joseph learnt to listen to others, God released him from the prison and he found himself in front of Pharaoh interpreting the dream of a whole nation. “Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it” Gen 41:15.

So, what are your dreams and visions? Don’t give up on them but learn to create the environment which enables others to fulfil their dreams around yours. Surely the church should be a place which interprets dreams. It can be quite a wounding experience going for our dreams as Joseph himself knew. God prophetically gave him two sons of healing and hope to see him on his way. Let’s end by making these sons our own promise in the one and only Son Jesus.

Manasseh

“God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” Gen 41:51

Ephraim

God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” Gen 41:52

 

 

May you be whole and fruitful as you fulfil your dreams….and a final word from the famous singer Sean Paul.

From Apathy to Sympathy

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Icon of Jesus Christ

 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses…” Hebrews 5:15

 The ancient Greeks highly valued the quality of being beyond the reach of pain. “Patheo”, suffering, was a too earthly ignoble thing. They worshipped a God beyond “patheo”, an apathetic God.

It is often said that we are what we worship. A God with no “passion”, no vulnerability produces a people immune to genuine human experience. On the one hand we see hard faced hordes addicted to busyness and decadence in order to escape the glance into the abyss, and on the other, prostrate practitioners bereft of feeling, willing to cause untold misery in the name of religion.

Some argue that without an “apathetic” God we have no sense of Sovereignty. God, indeed does not change, no-one can force God to suffer or impose suffering upon Him from outside of His own being.

However it may be worth considering two other possibilities.

  1.  God is free to change Himself.
  2. He is free to allow Himself to be changed by others and to allow them to make Him suffer.

God’s suffering is not suffering imposed on Him from the outside because of some weakness in Himself, but the suffering of love, an active, chosen, dynamic suffering.

Jesus’ words in John 10:18 hint at this principle of the sovereign choice of suffering.

 “No one takes it from me, but I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

 In Revelation 5:6, expecting to see the triumphant Lion of Judah, we see instead a “Lamb looking as if it had been slain, standing in the centre of the throne.”

 At the very heart of God’s sovereign rule we find vulnerability and chosen suffering.

Even the very foundations of creation and history are imbued with the overflow of God’s intentional love and suffering in the Agnus Dei, “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” Revelation 13:8

 The early Rabbis translated Psalm 18:35 (NIV – “you stoop down to make me great.”)

“You show to me your greatness through your self-humiliation.”

 God’s true greatness lies in His chosen self humiliation in Christ.

Rabbi Hershel saw in the Old Testament prophets a theology of “Pathos”. He saw their cries reflecting the wounded heart of God for His people. His wrath, a fiery curative expression of His own passion. Wrath and apathy never mix. So, far from being distantly apathetic, God is passionately caught up in human existence. He sympathises with us. He shares our very sufferings.

In the Trinity we see a sacrificing Father, an abandoned Son in the power of holy sacrifice called Spirit. This event explodes into the world bringing healing, hope, reconciliation and resurrection.

As the “apathy” of  ordinary Western life calls us away from the true “sympathy” of the Christ life  event when God stepped down into the world as a tender babe, let us turn away from our tearless idols, let our hearts be softened and let us sympathise with our fellow-men.

Handel’s Messiah begins with the description from Isaiah 40:11 of a shepherd God, gently leading His people.

 “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

 Let the Lord carry you close to His heart this day.

Being close to God’s heart is the very opposite of apathy. It may well lead us into suffering, echoing the Lord’s words to the “chosen instrument” Paul in Acts 9:16.

 “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

 The theologian Jurgen Moltmann liberates us from a purely negative, fearful view of suffering.

“How is this to be understood? The person who suffers does not only protest against his fate. Indeed, he suffers because he lives, and he is full of life because he has an interest in life and because he loves. He who no longer loves becomes apathetic and no longer even suffers. Life and death are for him a matter of indifference. The more one loves, however, the more vulnerable one becomes. The more one becomes capable of suffering, the more one becomes capable of happiness. The reverse is also true. The more one is capable of joy, the greater one’s capacity for sorrow. This could be called the dialectic of human life. Love gives vitality to living, but it also makes man mortal. The vitality of life and the deadliness of death are experienced at one and the same time through that interest in life we call love.”

May you indeed  know that “interest in life” we call love.

That love that shone out from the face of Jesus – Godhead veiled in humble flesh. Pure Sovereignty stooping down into the mess of this world to make us great…but more indeed to show His greatness.

 

Moravian Seal, or Agnus Dei, stained glass win...