When I was in high school we got a new principal my senior year. Our previous principle had been incredible. He had given us 'hour lunches' where we could leave school or play frisbee on the lawn. The new principle, Dr. Wright put a nix on those freedoms and earned the title "Dr. Wrong". I'm sure he had his reasons for constraining our freedoms but it certainly didn't feel right.
In our passage this Sunday, Jeremiah 7:1-23, the prophet is making it very clear to his listeners that God has a standard and they are not measuring up to it. He was saying that there is a right way and a wrong way. We live in a culture that dislikes absolutes especially when it comes to beliefs and values. What we often forget though, is that if God created us for a relationship with Him then doesn't it make sense to follow it to its logical conclusion....He knows what's best for us?
So, amidst all the "do's and don'ts" of Christianity is a clarion call from God to return to him:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3
Isaiah 64:1 says, "Oh God won't you rend the heavens and come down." Isaiah wants God to show Himself. "Prove yourself God. Show 'em what your made of. Be God in a real and tangible way." That's our cry too at times when we are desperate or feel helpless. I'm sure at one time or another, we have all asked God to come down and make everything all right.
But do we know what we're asking? What would it mean for a holy, righteous, omniscient, omnipotent God to enter into our existence? Are we ready to be exposed? Are we innocent of the injustice that we are asking God to fix? He did come down once before under the radar and provided salvation for us. The next time He comes, it will be with power and visible, tangible evidence.
How can we be ready? Our passages this Sunday are Isaiah 64:1-12; Psalm 107:1-22 and John 2:1-12. I hope we will be ready to hear what God has to say to us through His Word.
There are days you can feel the wearying of it: Our minds process 105, 000 words a day— the equivalent of 2 complete books. Every single waking day — we process the equivalent of 2 complete books — about 550 pages of words —but how many pages of His Word do we read, digest, meditate on, sit with, incarnate?
When I read this quote it certainly reminded me of our challenge this summer to read larger portions of Scripture than maybe we are used to. With the advent of computers we are taking in more information than any generation before us. How much of it is really helpful? How much of it is improving your life? Someone did a study on the impact of Facebook. One group looked at Facebook every day and the other group didn't look at it at all. They evaluated both groups at the end of the trial period and discovered that those who were not viewing Facebook on a daily basis were actually happier and more content.
We need to be reminded that everything we take in is either positive or negative. Very little is neutral. I can guarantee you that if you absorb God's Word every day it will have a positive impact on your life.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5,6
I've been reading "God in the Dock" by C.S. Lewis. It's a series of essays and questions and answers that deal with many areas of the Christian life. I thought this one question was particularly challenging:
QUESTION 16. Is attendance at a place of worship or membership with a Christian community necessary to a Christian way of life?
LEWIS: That's a question which I cannot answer. My own experience is that when I first became a Christian, about fourteen years ago, I thought that I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and I wouldn't go to the churches and Gospel halls; and then later I found that it was the only way of flying your flag; and, of course, I found that this meant being a target. It is extraordinary how inconvenient to your family it becomes for you to get up early to go to church. It doesn't matter so much if you get up early for anything else, but if you get up early to go to church it's very selfish of you and you upset the house. If there is anything in the teaching of the New Testament which is in the nature of a command, it is that you are obliged to take the Sacrament, and you can't do it without going to church. I disliked very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren't fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit. It is not for me to lay down laws, as I am only a layman, and I don't know much.