Saturday, June 09, 2007
In the meantime, a quick story: My family and I traveled across Australia from Sydney to Perth in December 1980. Click on this MAP -- it’s that little road that hugs the southern part of the continent. That’s a looooong way. It was, of course, as hot as any antipodean summer. And air-conditioning was for the haves, rather than the have-nots. There were 4 kids in the backseat for basically nine days of outback. I know it sounds like hell. But it was a blast, as I remember. Totally defining.
We had, of course, no CD player. (I didn’t see my first CD until 1986.) We had only a portable tape player. And only one compilation tape of classic hits from 1980. Needless to say, those songs are burned on my brain; burned as only desert sun can. For your Youtube-ing pleasure, this one carried us, as on the wings of eagles in the desert:
And this was a 1980 CLASSIC (also on that tape):
What was a song that defined your age 10?
PS Thats us in Perth with Grandma plus cousins.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
A Song at the dedication of the temple. Of David.
1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3 O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.
4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment;
his favour is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,
‘I shall never be moved.’
7 By your favor, O Lord,
you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face; I was dismayed.
8 To you, O Lord, I cried,
and to the Lord I made supplication:
9 ‘What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
O Lord, be my helper!’
11 You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
12 so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you for ever.
- From V5: So, is there a clock to joy? Or maybe a season? ('Weeping at night; Joy in the morning'?)
- What is the relationship between suffering + death + fear and Joy?
- Has God ever 'hid his face' from you (V7)? What does that mean?
- Have you ever had people question whether your joy is real? (God has turned your mourning into dancing; and clothed you with joy, but someone else can't see the clothing?)
- Is there a relationship between this Psalm and John 16:20-22?
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer identified the Psalter as the "Prayer Book of Jesus." How does this Psalm find it's fulfillment on the lips and in the life of Jesus?
- What is your experience of Joy?
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Jim: VERY important- if ANYONE approached us (without it being their job) it was the exception rather than the rule. It hardly ever happened but when it did we NOTICED. Frankly the lack of that failed to change much else for us since we adapted to the environment and simply stopped expecting spontaneous, unsolicited, non-directed greetings. Here’s how people feel whenever they enter a new experience—alone and stupid. Churches need to “attack” those feelings by training Christians (the non-professional and non-highly motivated kinds) to simply say “hi” to someone who they have not noticed before. That one small action would do more to increase church attendance than any other single action currently being tried.
Pic is by Elektracute on Flickr
Friday, June 01, 2007
And I want to help you see that God may have a presence in your life; that you may have God working in the deep places of your heart, drawing you right now to making a choice to follow Jesus. Don’t walk past the violinist. Don’t walk past Jesus.
V12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; …
And more, this verse has been used for the basis of much revisionism and progressive theology that leaves the old gospel behind.
But no – and here is the paradox: He has more to say; and yet the ‘more’ will be the old Gospel made clear in a new context.
14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
First, the reality of the Resurrected Jesus. (Something that the disciples could not have imagined) And in our reading from Acts, we witness the coming of the Advocate: Like a wind. And if we had kept reading, we’d hear Peter (who is famous for getting things half right.) fully proclaim the implications of the Resurrection within a few weeks of this moment.
Something he couldn’t bear until it happened.
But today, the Spirit takes what belongs to Jesus, and things that you cannot bear, and makes them plain to you.
Who is he? He is the Advocate. (V7). Last week we discovered that the word 'Paraclete', translated here 'Advocate' could also mean comforter, helper, or counselor.
What does he do? (V8). He comes to 'prove the world wrong' (NRSV). And when he (the Advocate) comes, he will 'prove the world wrong' about sin and righteousness and judgment. I'm told that 'prove wrong' is probably an unfortunate translation, for it then appears that the Spirit's work is to win an argument about sin, like He is beating the world at Chess or something.
The Greek work for 'prove wrong' is elencho. The Spirit will 'elencho' the world. Another translation - He will convict the world with regard to... The Advocate will reprove the world. He will lay it bare, expose it; or in the Moffatt translation, he'll take it to task!
Have you noticed the paradox then?
The Advocate: he Prosecutes?
You say: I thought Advocate defended. And prosecutors prosecuted. But here the Advocate Prosecutes. I thought that the Spirit would always make me feel good. And now Jesus is saying he will 'elencho' me? I'll get elenchoed. The World will get elenchoed?
But the Spirit does both: he defends and he prosecutes. And in fact, in order Comfort, the Spirit has to Convict.
We all know this a true paradox in intuitively. In any relationship, for someone to defend and comfort you and be on your side, that person will need to be upfront about things that damage the relationship. Otherwise the relationship cannot survive. We all need to be elenchoed in a functioning relationship. Are any of you married? You know this every other day. You know instinctively that the path to healing comes through openly dealing with the wound.
And what does the Advocate do? He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, for she has it all wrong.
- She is wrong about sin, says Jesus, because she doesn't realize that unbelief in me (through whom the world was created) is the basic human tragedy.
- She is wrong about righteousness for she fakes and falsifies righteousness; covering up the basic human tragedy with pretend acts righteousness for show: Giving a donation here and there and performing a good deed every now and then; pretending that we part of the solution by our own righteousness, and not part of the problem. And Jesus exposed that in his ministry, and when he goes to the Father, he'll be able to expose that in all the world.
- She is wrong about judgment, for she sides with common opinion all the time, but the ruler of this world stands condemned.
There's lots of sin in the world. And I don't care what you say: we all know it's effects. And the Spirit will work to convict the world. I think that without being born again, the world knows something of the conviction of God. They know that things are NOT RIGHT. What did Reinhold Niebuhr say?
The only empirically verifiable doctrine of Christianity is the doctrine of original sin.
The more we learn about The Darfur conflict (At least 200,000 dead and million refugeed); and about what is happening in every corner and in every home in America; The more we examine with full disclosure our own lives, then we know something of the work of the Spirit. Because the ONE thing we cannot abide is when one who has committed a crime shows no remorse behind their eyes.
We have enough knowledge to potentially be driven to the cross; to Jesus; to our knees to plead for his Advocacy; to beg him to forgive me to find ease our troubled hearts.
The last paradox next: In order to teach Something New, he has to point to Something Old....
What does this mean?
It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
There is something of that here in this text; with the important difference being this: That the founder IS present at every point (in your heart) and every branch (in every believing church) by his Spirit.
One reason it’s wonderful to know this is this: We would like to have been there in Jerusalem, watching Jesus live and touch people’s lives and speak. Like our violinist friend, I would have liked at least to have the opportunity of stopping; stopping to appreciate his life. But the truth is… Without the Spirit, I would not have stopped. (A point made very clearly in the Bible) And so order for Jesus to stay in the world (by his Spirit), he had to go.
Next, Paradox #2... In order Comfort, the Spirit has Convict.