Friday, May 12, 2006

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming... bring you my thoughts on a post titled "The Shaping of the Things to Come" from Redeemed, Reformed & Relevant.

The church could be divided into two groups on this type issue–the outwards and the inwards. One may seem more spiritual to you at first, but hang on to your hat. Some folks need everything to be orderly and beautiful around them and cannot concentrate or even breathe deeply unless they are. Others can find peace even in spite of their surroundings. God created both kinds of people and he created them to exist together in harmony in the church. Each must give way to the other because God is honored by both; and because trappings, or no trappings is not even the point.

One statement here can be ratified by both types: "Everything in the service needs to preach." The Scripture tells us that the prayers of the saints are like incense–whenever we smell a candle that will come to mind. The light of a candle reminds us that we are to be lights in a dark world. I guess a musty smelling church building might remind us to throw open the windows of our soul and let heavenly breezes blow in.

Christ was completely human. Surely, as a man, he took pleasure in good things that touched his senses. He made better wine than the father of the bride. He appreciated being anointed with costly perfume. He washed his disciples’ feet. He showed us that the perfect man cared about pleasant physical parts of life.

The principles seem to be these:

  • Think about everything you do. Don’t do anything because that’s the way it’s done. Make decisions about all of life based on your relationship with Christ and never see anything as unattached to that union.
  • Love the brethren. Be ready with your reason for everything you do or suggest, but be more ready to yield to your brother for whom Christ died. Trappings, just like meat sacrificed to idols, are not the issue really–just the proving ground.
  • Give your brother the freedom to express his delight in God with his whole soul and personality. Some things you may want to emulate–others you may want to forget.

One of the greatest gifts God has given us as members of his body is the dynamic resonance of glory that reflects and flashes from one believer to another. (That’s why we should never forsake our own assembling together.) Like Moses, we couldn’t bear looking on it full in the face–yet; but these foretastes are his gift, within the bounds of our senses, to make us thirst for heaven.

If my brother, for whom Christ died, needs candles to help him toward God; light ‘em up. I will pray that my sneezing will not distract him. And he, in turn, will consider that true worship of God takes place in many places with far less freedom--and no candles. Yes, everything must preach; but everything--especially believers--must preach Christ.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

on his kind comfort...

If you know this oldie-but-goodie, sing along...

And in these days of confused situations
And in these nights of a restless remorse
When the heart and the soul of a nation
Lay wounded and cold as a corpse
From the grave of the innocent Adam
Comes a song bringing joy to the sad
All your cries have been heard and the ransom
Has been paid up in full, be ye glad

Oh be ye glad, oh, be ye glad
Every debt that you ever had
Has been paid up in full by the grace of the Lord
Be ye glad, be ye glad, be ye glad

From the dungeon a rumor is stirring
We have heard it again and again
But this time the cell keys are turning
And outside there are faces of friends
And though your body lay weary from wasting
And your eyes show the sorrow they've had
The love that your heart is now tasting
Has opened the gates, be ye glad

Oh be ye glad, oh, be ye glad
Every debt that you ever had
Has been paid up in full by the grace of the Lord
Be ye glad, be ye glad, be ye glad

So be like lights on the rim of the water
Giving hope in a storm sea of night
Be a refuge amidst the slaughter
For these fugitives in their flight
For you are timeless and part of a puzzle
And you are winsome and young as a lad
And there is no disease or no struggle
That can pull you from God, be ye glad

Oh be ye glad, oh, be ye glad
Every debt that you ever had
Has been paid up in full by the grace of the Lord
Be ye glad, be ye glad, be ye glad

Michael K. Blanchard, 1980