Friday, June 14, 2013

He Makes The Rain Fall on the Just and the Unjust

Before I launch into my latest musings I will say I just finished a book from 1938 by Brenda Ueland called "If You Want to Write".  Anyone who knows me well knows that I want to write, do art, re purpose things, take pictures, travel, and many more great things.  When you have that many interests it is really hard to do anything well.  I want to try to write more often and not be thinking "I don't have time to do a good enough job now."  I wish I was motivated enough to want to polish my writing but I'm just not.  So here's to hoping to write more.

Here are my musings on Matthew 5:43-48
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

It is irrelevant what the word "perfect" means in this passage.  We know from it that God is perfect and we are told to be like Him.

And what is it that sets Him apart from us and makes Him perfect?  He makes rain fall on ALL and sun shine on ALL people whether they deserve it or not.

I objected at first.  How can He help that?  It's not like rain could just fall on good people, right?

Maybe that is part of the point - if we could be so God-like, so perfect, we would just greet ALL in the streets, we would love ALL, we would do good to ALL.  It wouldn't cross our minds to ask/consider goodness or evilness.  We would just BE.  We would BE who we were meant to BE.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Understanding Spiritual Formation

I continue to marvel at how God forms me spiritually.  My beliefs are constantly being challenged by reading, relationships and circumstances.  Over the years I've hardened then softened then hardened again.  Many thoughts and ideas morph.  But when a light bulb moment comes, well, I cannot remember ever changing on one of those.  

Because God gives me TRUTH in pictures that is how I speak this truth.  I am so confident about it, at least for my own life, that I have no shred of interest in defending it.  It just is.

One of the first pictures I remember is "God's truth will rise to the top."  Decades later I believe this more than ever.  Why is this so important to me?  I need not defend what I believe because it is not my truth, it is God's.  I may or may not believe the true Truth about this or that issue.  I am a work in progress and I promise you I am doing the best I can.  I want to know what is true and I believe that God's truth will rise because the Holy Spirit will lead me into all truth.  Why argue and defend ideas as if the truth is MY truth.  I want to listen to others because maybe what they are saying is the cream, after all.

Have you ever been perplexed about something that the majority of people around you seem to understand?  This doesn't happen to me often but when it does I can get pretty vocal.  Take the A.C.T.S. model for prayer.  Specifically the "A".  About fifteen years ago I was involved in some pretty large prayer gatherings.  We would start out with the "A" Adoration.  We would drone on.  "You are lovely."  "You are holy."  "Your power sustains the universe."  I did not understand it at all.  We were praying to God and yet we were telling the God who knows everything snippets of information about Himself.  About a decade later I had an epiphany about the whole process.  We are saying these things to REMIND OURSELVES of God's great attributes.  In a way it still feels a bit hokey to me.....we are praying to God not each other, correct?  But at least now it makes more sense to me.  Is this what others understood all along?

My latest piecing of events and my thoughts together has to do with the Lord's Supper.  It is a pretty solemn event that I've never really understood apart from New Testament incidents of it taking place. I just have never been able to conjure up great enough feelings to go with the retelling of Jesus' last few hours before his death.  Lately a small group has been discussing the resurrection of Jesus.  It's pretty scary to listen to people ask hard questions, make unfamiliar statements and all the while remember that the cream of God's truth is still truth even if we miss it right now.

During my musings about our discussions I came to another really big idea that is going to help me understand why I participate in the Lord's Supper.  Our culture is unfriendly to Christian thought.  The lines are getting so fuzzy about right and wrong.  We are so hammered by unchristian thoughts that it seems to me the Church is becoming diluted by the age we live in.  The farther we get in history the further we get from the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  For myself, my spirituality and my face is toward God and God alone.  Yes, of course I know that the reason I have a relationship with God is because of the work of Christ on my behalf.  BUT I live in the now of my relationship with God.  My ephipany of late has been that the reason Jesus told us to "do this in remembrance" of Him is because we were going to lose track of the fact that it is because of Him we have this new life.

Maybe my "aha" moments are "duh" to you.  That is OK because probably many of yours are not light bulb moments to me.  The point is the Holy Spirit is moving, leading and teaching us into the path of Life.