Going through files at church, thinning, weeding, sorting, and ordering, again I see the importance of dating paperwork.
Invitations to conferences with dates and no years. That makes it hard to sort chronologically.
Faded and yellowed papers. Are they from the 1950's? Or is the booklet from the 1990's but printed on cheap paper that aged too quickly?
Lovely to run across a stream of stuff that you'd luv-luv-luv to throw out, but it must be kept for certain reasons ... and find that at least you can put them in order because they're fully dated.
At home it's good to find an owner's manual with the date scribbled on the front of when we bought that mower or washer or stove ... especially when the years fly by and you could've sworn that the appliance was only three years old in spite of the written evidence proves the item is twelve years old.
A few weeks ago we heard the parable (Matt 21) about the vine-dressers who beat up the land-owner's servants. Then they killed his son.
Then we heard (Matt 22) about the people who were invited to the wedding-feast of the king's son and responded with, "Phhhtttthhhbbbbppp! We've got better things to do."
We also heard about Pharisees and scribes and Sadducees trying to entrap Jesus (Matt 22).
If we keep reading through the passion (Matt 26-27 or Psalm 22) we'd see a lot more scorn and mocking -- from the church leaders, from the soldiers, from the people. Even from the disciples.
Every single sin we commit =
Lamb of God, pure and holy,
who on the cross didst suffer,
ever patient and lowly, Thyself to scorn didst offer.
All sins Thou borest for us,
else had despair reigned o'er us.
Have mercy on us, O Jesus.
Pastor was talking in Bible class today about how we believe in the Word of God. But it's not only words we believe. Any religious leader can spout words. The truth of those words is shown in whether the words come to pass (Deut 18:21-22). The events of Jesus' suffering, death, and resurrection show that His words were true. His own words came to pass in the historical events. The words of the Old Testament prophets also were proven true in the historical events of Jesus' day.
So I asked, "Did the Old Testament Christians believe in 'just the words' or did they have the events too?" confused because they obviously had not observed the events that occurred in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
Pastor pointed out the constituative event of the Israelites: the Passover and the crossing of the Red Sea. That was their salvific event. It saved. It was a historical fact. It was the fulfillment of the promise which came before. It showed that the Lord was faithful to His word.
About an hour later, we hear from John in today's Gospel. Jesus is telling His followers to abide in His word. He tells them, "The truth shall make you free." And what's the response from some of the Jews?
Free? Huh? We're free. We're Abraham's descendents. How come you're offering freedom? We've never been in bondage to anyone.
The wardrobe. A portal into Narnia. It too is bigger on the inside. There's a whole world in there. A world that's not apparent to people outside.
We were reading in Anne of Ingleside the other night. Some kids were tormenting little Walter: "Your mother is going to die. But that's okay because you'll see her in heaven." "How far away is heaven?" trembles Walter. "Oh, millions and millions of miles away."
Jesus' flesh and blood are in the chancel. "Lord of lords, in human vesture, in the body and the blood, He will give to all the faithful His own self for heavenly food."
The angels and archangels, the apostles and prophets, the martyrs and the blessed dead -- they're in church with us. "Rank on rank the hosts of heaven spreads its vanguard on the way as the Light of Light descendeth from the realms of endless day -- comes the powers of hell to vanquish, as the darkness clears away."
The Tardis is bigger on the inside.
But it's just a story.
The wardrobe is bigger on the inside.
But it too is just a story.
The chancel is bigger on the inside.
More crowded than we realize.
But it's not just-a-story.
That doorway into the nave? It's a portal to where heaven and earth intersect.
What happens there is realer than any Reality we experience on earth.
And it's not millions and millions of miles away.
Jealousy is bad, right? It's like envy. It means you're unhappy that somebody else has something you want, or that you might lose what you have -- whether it's stuff or a position or a relationship.
So when God says, "I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God," we see that as a flaw.
Sometimes people think God has an ego problem: "Hey, don't worship anybody else. I'm the Big Cheese here, and I want your praise and your accolades."
Sometimes people think God gets hacked off when we don't honor him as we should. It must hurt His feelings, they think. Why can't He get over His pettiness, they think.
If you're a parent, you know the terror-of-heart as your beloved child runs toward the busy street. Or embarks upon some other stupid stunt that's quite likely to endanger him. If you're not a parent, you probably remember your own confusion after you did something idiotic as a kid. "Why are you so mad at me, Mom??! You're glad I didn't get hurt, but you're mad too."
The Lord is jealous. And it's not about His ego or His feelings. It's because what hurts Him most is when we insist on harming ourselves. He loves. He cares. He gives. And when we run off into the busy street, when we run off into danger, it grieves Him. Not because it damages Him. But because it hurts us. And that is why He is "a jealous God." It's for our protection, for our benefit. Not for His.
He is the source of life. When we leave Him, we turn our back on life, and the only thing left is death. That's why He's jealous for us: He wants us to have life, and have it abundantly.
So why is it that grandkids grow up so much faster than your own kids?
Because you're older, and 5 years of kiddo-growth is a proportionately smaller part of your life when you're 50 than when you're 25?
Or because your whole life isn't consumed with tending them, caring for their every need, comforting, teaching, feeding, cleaning, knowing their lingo and their own sinful propensities and their own particular sweetnesses?
Romans 6: You're either a slave of sin or a slave of righteousness. A slave of uncleanness or a slave of holiness. A slave of death & sin or a slave of God.
Slaves of sin are "free in regard to righteousness." Free, huh? What kind of freedom is that?
Matthew 11: Jesus invites us to Him for rest. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." So in a way, there's still a yoke, still a burden. Just as Paul said: "slaves of God." But one slavery is easy.
When Peter went hacking away with his sword in the Garden of Gethsemane, he cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Pastor pointed out that this was not just a humongous injury. This was his EAR.
Apostles are to preach. They are to save people through their words. Hack off the ear and the fellow cannot hear the word of mercy. What Peter did was violent and hurtful, to be sure. But even more, Peter interfered with the man's hearing. When Jesus healed Malchus, it wasn't just fixing an owie. The miraculous healing gave back to Malchus the organ through which he could hear the preaching which saves.