Blessed time of loving communion
Blessed time of loving communion
A mere trinket
A small little charm
But the love that was linked to it
Could easily disarm
Any doubts of his loyalty
Any perceived mal-intent
For though not all that valuable
True devotion was clearly meant
It was a love charm
Though it looked like many another
But this one was unique
For in it his whole heart he did offer
Padre (and Feileacan)
It doesn’t matter how my day has been
What ups and downs – outs and ins
Hectic, crazy, or even full of pain
Your smiling eyes make me whole again
Little expressions – so love filled
How can I not by them be healed
Your smiling eyes they make me whole
And I will ever your love extol
With an empty hole within my life
I am complete again with you as my wife
Your presence has removed my pain
And allowed my to live my life again
You have found me in desparate need
And place in me again love’s seed
Thank you for coming to my side
And with me from now on now abide
Gracefully, you float in the sunlight’s beam
Vivid hues of brightness against the garden’s green
How is it that you ride on air?
And land so lightly, as if not even there?
You visit briefly amid your to and through
Our encounters all too brief before you must needs go
But even in brevity they mean all to me
And make me long for you again to see
I anxious await for some future day
When you from your labours and travels
Oh my Butterfly, will return to stay
Last week Pastor Vince spoke to us about the need to be authentic. In that message he said he was going to use a text, not to make a theological exposition but as a jumping off point. I will start off the same, before moving on to some expository. Yes, I am a theologian.
As such I am going to scratch the surface of a technique known as systematic theology which formulates an orderly, and rational account of the doctrines of the Christian faith. I will take topics that Pastor Vince has addressed recently and arrange them as steppingstones, or a path we can take a step at a time to get to our destination.
A few weeks ago, Vince noted that Praise not only glorifies God, but can left us like an eagle’s wings. So here is my first foundation stone in tying to days message together. Praise and worship are in our present age opened, like the tearing of the curtain in the temple. The Holy of Holies is open to us because Christ has torn the barriers to approaching God down.
Vince in the past has told us about the structure and importance of the Tabernacle and later Temple. As you approached that place of worship and praise, note we have the approach theme again, you would go from the mundane world to a sacred space, arriving eventually to the Most Holy Place.
During the period of the Babylonian Captivity, worship, prayer, and praise began to be made in the synagogue as the Temple had been destroyed and the people dispersed. When the Second Temple was built this new synagogue, system continued to operate along side of it as we see in the Gospels.
Not only this but structure of the Second Temple was extended from the Tabernacle plan to include an outer court sometimes called The Court of the Gentiles. It was open to non-Jews, though they could approach no closer to that to the Holy Places. But they were allowed in!
The synagogue too had a similar design, but in modern synagogues the holy place is replaced with the Ark where the Scriptures rest. These are brought out onto a platform called the Bimah where they are read aloud. The congregation sits facing this platform.
Look at Luke 4:
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.
So, what does that have to do with being authentic?
As Pastor Vince noted last week, authentic faith – loves and serves.
Our praise may help us soar like eagles, but never at the cost to others.
Hebrews 13:1 tells us, “Let brotherly love continue.” First John 4: 7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. He that loves not doesn’t know God; for God is love.”
In what is often called the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, Jesus makes it clear. Note some of the parallels from the passage we just looked at in Luke 4. “When I was hungry, when I was naked, in prison, etc.”
Authenticity is not about us soaring, it is about lifting others.
This authentic love was something Jesus had to teach. You may not know this but in the culture of Jesus’ times there was a belief that honour was a finite resource like gold or diamonds. If I had it, you didn’t. I kept it by keeping you down.
Vince spoke about humility, and what authentic humility is like. But this was a hard sell in Jesus’ day. This makes the Sermon on the Mount even more profound with the Meek, and Humble being praised.
Luke 16:19-31 gives us the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Their lives are contrasted, as are their deaths. Notice that even in Hell the rich man doesn’t change his attitude of superiority. “Send Lazarus to me.” “Send Lazarus to my brothers.”
Paul’s letter to Philemon is a wonderful study in authenticity. It shows Paul giving authentic and loving praise, It makes an example of authentic humility, and it shows not coercion as some have suggested, but rather Paul’s call on Philemon to realistically see things are the really are. Systematic theology at its best.
1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker— 2 also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. 7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.
12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
22 And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.
23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Philemon needs to extend himself. He needs authentic humility to get past any perceived wrongs. He needs to show love, and unconditional love that frees captives, and restores relationships. He needs to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and help fulfil the promise of the prophesy found in Luke Chapter 4.
Paul one step at a time calls for authenticity, and I have one step at a time taken three of Vince’s themes and presented them to you. Let’s be real together.
There is that which divides us
Creating wedges and space
That make us distrustful
Of things like class or race
Yet there is more – which us does link:
Love and compassion
Music, and good food and drink
Smoothing the edges
Reconciling our mood
And when we look at this globe
From afar in the air
We are but a race human
As a common existence we share
The day approaches in which to give thanks
To the one who gave me nuture
And into the world – me carried
You were the very dawn of my life,
Who cared and cuddled
And for me did shed tears
And in my tender years held me close
Your heartbeat in my trusting ears
You were the full moon of my fledgling days
And though by others – as I grew –
My affections were thereby eclipsed
But you remain forever my mother
The measure of all women
Whose orbit I shall never forsake
The paint chip words and phrases that I used: dawn, heartbeat, full moon.
Eyes gazing into one another’s
As you prepare to sleep
As man and wife
Content for life
Your love is more precious than the breath of life
You lift me upon wings of emotion
My spirit is lifted aloft on the thermals of your sweet care
I soar above the mundane, and the world and its strife
Each moment with you – all my dreams fulfil
And I climb heaven-wards in your presence
And I pray I forever will