Friday, February 17, 2012

Bible Meditation

"And I would like to tell you now quite personally: since I have learnt to read the Bible in this way-and this has not been for so very long-it becomes every day more wonderful to me. I read it in the morning and the evening, often during the day as well, and every day I consider a text which I have chosen for the whole week, and try to sink deeply into it, aso as really to hear what it is saying. I know that without this I could not live properly any longer." - Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, p.137

I always love to hear of the devotional exercises of faithful brothers and sisters.  Good things to learn, practice, try.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On the Need to Invite Others to Praise with us as a Part of our Praise

“…just as men spontaneously praise what they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it:  “Isn’t she lovely?  Wasn’ it glorious?  Don’t you think that magnificent?”  The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about…I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.  It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete until it is expressed.” – CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, pp94-95

Where God Would be Found

"If it is I who determine where God is to be found, then I shall always find a God who corresponds to me in some way, who is obliging, who is connected with my own nature.  But if God determines where he is to be found, then it will be in a place which is not immediately pleasing to my nature and which is not at all congenial to me.  This place is the Cross of Christ.  And whoever would find him must go to the foot of the Cross, as the Sermon on the Mount commands.  This is not according to our nature at all, it is entirely contrary to it.  But this is the message of the Bible, not only in the New but also in the Old Testament..." - Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, p.137

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Music or Theology?

"When Dietrich turned eight, he began piano lessons.  All the children had music lessons, but none showed such promise.  His ability to sight-read was remarkable.  He became so accomplished that he seriously thought of taking it up as a career.  At ten he was playing Mozart's sonatas...Although he eventually chose theology over music, music remained a deep passion throughout his life.  It became a vital part of his expression of faith, and he taught his students to appreciate it and make it a central aspect of their expressions of faith." - Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, p22-23

Like Luther and others, the connections between music and theology run deep for Bonhoeffer.  Of course, we see this centrally in the life of David and in the Greater David, Jesus.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Unintended Power of the Word of God

"The Luther Bible was to the modern German languge what the works of Shakespeare and the King James Bible were to the modern English language.  Before Luther's bible, there was no unified German language.  It existed only in a hodgepodge of dialects.  And Germany as a nation was an idea far in the future, a gleam in Luther's eye.  But when Luther translated the Bible into German, he created a single language in a single book that everyone could read and did read.  Indeed, there was nothing else to read.  Soon everyone spoke German the way Luther's translation did.  As television has had a homogenizing effect on the accents and dialects of Americans, watering down accents and sanding down sharp twangs, Luther's Bible created a single German tongue.  Suddenly millers from Munchen could communicate with bakers from Bremen.  Out of this grew a sense of a common heritage and culture." - in Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, p20

And so the power of the Word in more ways than one might expect.  Cultures are brought together or formed and reformed around the Word translated into a common tongue.  This should be a great encouragement to the ongoing work of translating the Bible into languages, some of which do not even have a written alphabet at this time.

Monday, February 13, 2012

He Who Names Wins

He who names, wins.  Call abortion pro-choice and it means one thing.  Call it murder and it means another.  Call homosexual unions same-sex marriage and it means one thing; call it unnatural acts of sodomy and lesbianism and it means another.

But the State has become our God.  Yahweh once said, “and a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  But another god has spoken, new definitions have been made, naming is taking place.

One writer said, “In attacking “heterosexual monogamy,” same-sex marriage does away with the very institution – the only institution we have  - that exists precisely in order to support the natural family and to affirm its independence from the state.” (Douglas Farrow, in Touchstone, Feb 2012, p26).  The State and the Church, neither have the right to create a marriage.  Family is its own government, declared by God alone, to be recognized by the other governments established by God.

This attack upon the family is not over – not by a long shot.  In Canada, same-sex legislation was quickly and quietly followed with amendments which struck out the language of “natural parents,” “blood relationship,” from Canadian laws, replaced with “legal parent,” “legal relationship,” and so forth.  In other words, all familial relationships are now something not recognized by the State, but defined and declared, named, only by the State.

He who names, wins.  Why talk about this in our worship service?  Primarily because we, the church, began renaming marriage quite some time ago.  We have done this openly in granting same-sex marriages before the State ever did.  We have done this as well by openly promoting the dissolution of what God had joined together, redefining divorce and calling it easily available, good and necessary.

But secondarily, we bring up such idolatrous practices in our land because we have come to worship God the Father in the name of His Son, King Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit – and our God intends to do something about this.  He calls us to join with Him in bringing justice and mercy, His gospel, over the face of the earth as we praise and pray and proclaim Him to the glory of His name.