Homily | Installment 4 | “The Master Speaks”

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Holy Scriptures for Sunday, 11 August 2019

  • Isaiah 1.1, 10-20
  • Psalm 50.1-8, 22-23
  • Hebrews 11.1-3, 8-16
  • Luke 12.32-40

 


 

At the outset, I must confess, this group of Scriptures is very dense indeed! I cannot presume to be able to do it justice, especially in a short blog. Truthfully this is also always the case, but seems even more the reality for this group. However, since my goal with these is not really to be an authoritative teacher, but rather to just try and pull together threads I see in an attempt to encourage you. In that case, there is something I will share that will hopefully be a blessing.  Regardless, please click on the link above and read the passages for yourself. Especially if you give them a good 2-3 readings through, they will do much more for you than what I will be doing.

Praise be to God for his Word that he shares with us!

The one thing I really want to drive home for today’s “homily” is that God certainly speaks! He speaks to us all of the time! Most of the time, we just miss it. The reality is, he is reaching out for us. This is a great blessing, but we must not mistake what is taking place in this interaction. He does not speak to us and reach out for us as a beggar in search for crumbs, but rather as a King imploring his subjects to stop their rebellion! We make it seem as though he will have consequences if he does not stop pursing us – like a pestering beggar on the street. On the contrary, he is imploring us to put down our arms and submit again to him while he allows us to do so! He will be returning; there will be a reckoning… Let’s look at some of the passages:

  • Isaiah 1.12, 15-17 – “12 When you come to appear before me who has required of you this trampling of my courts? 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of our deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
  • Psalm 50.3-6 – Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest. He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people: “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!” The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah
  • Luke 12.33-35, 39-40 – 33 “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning,”
    39 “But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

We see here that God indeed is paying attention to what is going on. Not only that, but he speaks into our situations. He desires and demands that we repent of our sin (any act or commission or omission that is contrary to his Law) and turn to him. To follow him and become his faithful servants that will be awake and watchful for is certain but unexpected return. He is coming back. We will all stand before him. We, all of us, will kneel before him and confess his majesty. What will be the condition of our hearts on that faithful hour? How are we living today to meet that certain reality that none will escape?

  • Isaiah 1.20 – “but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Yet, in his abundant mercy, he calls to us now, before that day, to participate with him in making things right! He calls us to make things right in ourselves first and then to allow that power to work through us to change the world back to how it should be.

  • Isaiah 1.18-19 – 18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lordthough your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;”
  • Hebrews 11.1-3, 13-16 – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
    13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
  • Luke 12.32 – “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

What we can plainly see, is that God is rich in mercy and calls out to us. He speaks to us! May we have ears to hear! This reminds me of a story. I was speaking to one of my friends one day who is not a Christian and she told me that while getting ready for the day she just felt like she wanted to call out to God. So she did. She said, something along the lines of, “God, if you’re real, come to me.” She said, nothing happened… I thought about this for a while before the reality struck me and I then explained to her, that the Scriptures – and our natures – teach that we do not seek God. The only way people even come to him is by his grace and he allows them to wake up to his presence (we just often hit the snooze button!). So, I tried to relate this and to not be discouraged and even though she didn’t get the response she wanted, the reality of the situation was that she was really the one who was responding. He was already there and was drawing her heart to seek him. She was responding to that pull and he was the initiator, not the other way around. May we all be perceptive and responsive.

How do you see God working around you?

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 AMpSun, 11 Aug 2019 11:30:25 -040030Sunday 2016 at 11:30 am  Comments (2)  
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I.C.E. | Installment 3

Inspiring … Challenging … Encouraging 

Blessings to you on this day. Here are my picks for this week. Again, no explanations or commentary. Not always things I agree with either, but mostly that’s the case. Just things I find that are ICE. Questions? Comment!

 


 

“some memories are a haze
no recollection of the first kiss
nor school graduations
it was like a tasteless fog” (Ms. Cassa Bassa)

 

“A person caught in a firestorm praying for supernatural rescue will be heard. If they live or die, they live, but they may have been taken out of the earth before their time is due because of the chaos of evil set in motion by a corporate lack of obedient watchful response to a rising unmet situation. But many people praying for peace and righteousness to be flourishing in a given area can possibly see a total transformation in the circumstances.” (McLean, Clay.  “The Mystery of Prayer.” McLean Ministries. Nightlight 308.)

 

[Christianity on racism and sexuality] — “The reason we believe that discrimination ethnically is wrong is because the race and ethnicity of a person is sacred. You do not violate a person’s ethnicity and race. It is a sacred gift. And the reason we believe in an absolute nest of sexuality is because we believe sexuality is sacred as well, and that’s why we make our choice that same way. I said, ‘You would help me if you would tell me why you treat race as sacred and de-sacrelize sexuality.’ … Marriage, as God has given it to us, and if you take the whole corpus of the world view, is the most sacred relationship into which you will enter.” – (Zacharias, Ravi   “Christian View on Homosexuality” [video])

 

“Here’s what I mean: This is God’s world, and he is present and active in it. He is setting everything right through his Son Jesus Christ, and we are his church, filled and empowered by his Holy Spirit to be about our Father’s business. Our Bishop Todd Hunter often quotes Dallas Willard to us priests: ‘Humanity remains God’s project, not ours, and his initiatives are always at work among us.’ This week a friend sent me a quote from Wendell Berry, who said that the big problems we have now won’t be solved with “big solutions,” but rather “by hundreds of people accepting local responsibilities for small problems.” It’s hard to argue with Wendell Berry. So we have a part to play. There are actions we can take as faithful witnesses to the beautiful Good News that has been unleashed on the world.” – (Sternke, Ben, “Responding to the Shootings in El Paso and Dayton.” http://www.thetableindy.org)

 

“…The world, knowing how all our real investments are beyond the grave, might expect us to be less concerned than other people who go in for what is called Higher Thought and tell us that ‘death doesn’t matter’; but we ‘are not high minded’, and we follow One who stood and wept at the grave of Lazarus – not surely, because He was grieved that Mary and Martha wept, and sorrowed for their lack of faith (though some thus interpret) but because death, the punishment of sin, is even more horrible in His eyes than in ours. The nature which He had created as God, the nature which He had assumed as Man, lay there before Him in its ignominy; a foul smell, food for worms. Though He was to revive it a moment later, He wept at the shame; if I may here quote a writer of my own communion, ‘I am not so much afraid of death as ashamed of it.’ And that brings us again to the paradox. Of all men, we hope most of death; yet nothing will reconcile us to – well, its unnaturalness. We know that we were not made for it; we know how it crept into our destiny as an intruder; and we know Who has defeated it. Because Our Lord is risen we know that on one level it is an enemy already disarmed; but because we know that the natural level also is God’s creation we cannot cease to fight against the death which mars it, as against all those other blemishes upon it, against pain and poverty, barbarism and ignorance. Because we love something else more than this world we love even this world better than those who know no other.” (Lewis, C.S. “Some Thoughts”, God in the Dock. Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1970. pgs. 159-160)

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 AMpSat, 10 Aug 2019 09:30:00 -040030Saturday 2016 at 9:30 am  Comments (2)  
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