The Problem Is Enmity, Not Ethnicity
Tag Archives: restoration
What a bitter irony. It must pain Valentine so. The day the ancient church decided to celebrate his martyrdom is now used as an excuse for all sorts of debauchery. Now, please don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the day entirely. I bought my little girl a teddy bear and my wife her favorite perfume.
But, it’s more known nowadays as “a day for lovers” rather than a day to celebrate good Christian love. And a day for lovers has come to mean 50 Shades of Grey films and other soft porn offerings.
There are several possible St. Valentine stories. All of them bear witness to the brutality of the Roman Empire in trying to stamp out the early church. They are stories of men who had the strength of their convictions and faith in Christ Jesus to lay down their lives rather than recant of their faith. To use any of these martyrs to sell a pair of undies is just despicable.
So it’s rather appropriate that is falls on Ash Wednesday this year. A day of repentance. A day to remember we will return to dust. It may prick the conscience of a few nominal Christians to see how lukewarm their faith is, this I fervently pray. It will be barely a blip on the larger culture’s radar.
Sisters and Brothers in Christ, let us revive our love, divine love, agape love, pure and holy Love for God and for one another and to witness to a dying world about the Love of Christ and the only Hope of Salvation that is found in Him.
1 Corinthians 16: 13-14
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.
Post script: Our church offers confession either before or after the service of ashes. If yours doesn’t, I urge you to go visit one that does. It’s necessary to experience it, my explanations as to why will all be insufficient. Repent!
Earlier this week I was listening to a podcast by the church planting movement of the Anglican Church in North America: Always Forward. One of the comments, said in passing, was this: “the gospel is supra political.” I’m not really sure if I heard anything else for the next few minutes as I listened to the podcast. It seemed so inherently obvious that I couldn’t believe I had missed it. God is super natural, he is above nature. God created all things and all things have there being in and through him. The gospel speaks to the entirety of our lives. It is for all aspects of human existence. It is for the relationships between husband and wife and parent and child and citizen and state and of course human being to God.
I have been chewing on this idea for days. I was raised in the house of politics. I think I’ve mentioned before that my father was a political philosophy professor and my mother was a high school English teacher. All of my parent’s friends were academics. We frequently had discussions about politics. When we went for walks as a family, my mother and my father would discuss politics. So, I’ve struggled to prioritize the Gospel over politics: politics is sort of always running in the foreground and the gospel trying to overlay it.
Now I know this is a problem. But, there’s a huge difference between intellectually knowing there’s a problem and being able to resolve it in practicalway. In one little comment I was able to see the flaws in my thinking. Not that I didn’t know there was a flaw but I couldn’t clearly define what that flaw was.
I don’t think I really have a fancy conclusion for you. This particular idea has been spinning like a splinter in my head for days. I’m putting it here in my blog has a way of reminding myself and giving full voice to the idea.
Jesus clearly told us that we cannot serve both God and Mammon. For quite a while now, I have known that politics was a problem for me. It was getting in the way of my view of the gospel of Jesus Christ and of God. One of the phrases I have used to describe my process of being more like Christ is philosophical weed pulling. There are many thoughts and ideas in each of our heads that are in direct conflict with the gospel. Going into the field of our minds and clearing out all that which is damaging to the word, to the seed of the word that must be implanted, means pulling out by the root all the ideas that are contrary to the Gospel. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
So, this small comment nestled in a podcast about church planting somehow made me see the contours of the root that I needed to dig out. In a way I guess, just as a church is planted, so is the word implanted. A local church is a small field of sown seeds. So church planting and personal implantation of the faith go hand in hand.
I encourage you to pray and search out those things in your life that are choking off the roots of the seed implanted in you. Not just because it is the good and right way to live out your faith but for the benefit of the church and the Kingdom of God, both those near and those yet to be born into the kingdom.
Soli Deo Gloria