Tag Archives: messiah

ACNA Provincial Assembly 2017

The recent provincial assembly was a time well spent. My wife wasn’t that thrilled that I was spending all day at the event, but she appreciated some of the information I brought home. I would say the most impactful thing I encountered was the couple who are using their garage as a church. They deliberately moved to a low income neighborhood. They went intentionally knowing the lack of resources available to those who live there. It initially started as Sunday bible time with the smaller kids in the neighborhood who were making friends with their children. The husband is an ordained priest, but works bivocationally.Slowly a few other adults came, but it is still principally centered around the children. The other active adults were explaining how they’ve seen the kids start to mimic the words of the prayers and sacraments. Slowly, bit by bit the wisdom of scripture is filtering into their lives. Less hostility between siblings, slowly less one upsmanship between friends. I couldn’t help but think of Moses exhortation to the Hebrews after the giving of the law.:

Dueteronomy 11:19

“You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

The second big impression was the minute details of the life of the church. There are lots of people working in lots of places doing what God has put them there for. Big and small. Mostly small by our modern era’s standard. And there is a big lesson for us. As culturally soaked American Christian’s, smallness is not what we were brought up on. The usual trope is “Go big or go home”. [as a side note, I’ve tried to pick up the habit of “pray big or go home”]
I hadn’t thought about it until writing this. Assurance. We think of the word in connection with our final “saved” state, that Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us. But there is also the assurance of a final Judgement. Where all things hidden will be revealed. This who did evil in the dark will have it brought into the light. But those who labored for righteousness in the dark and cold places of this planet are assured of a revelation themselves. That no labor done for the Lord, no matter how trivial, menial or obscure by the eyes and judgements of this world will be kept from God’s eyes and from all the saints. There are names we know from history, apostles and early church fathers and the patriarchs and the prophets and the martyrs. But there are untold more from pre-Christ to the church era who are lost to us. But NOT to GOD. 

When I think of modern obscurity I nearly always think of North Korea. We know next to nothing of the people there. They must feel so isolated and so alone. Can you imagine coming to Christ and not having a church body to meet with regularly? That faith is a faith truly bathed in grace. So when I’m praying the psalms in my morning devotion, the words of David “protect me from my enemies” I think of them. 

Those saints, those humble beggars: we Americans will walk them to the front of line and take our place in the back. 

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Between Two Criminals 

Last Sunday our church had a dramatic reading of Luke’s account of the trial and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ (see scripture below). 

Maybe I’m a bit dull, but I never saw the simple choice that is presented in that recounting of the death of our Lord. Jesus, the God-man without stain or blemish, is raised on a cross between two criminals meeting their just end. 

One hurls insults and derision on Yeshua, (Jesus’s name in Hebrew.) He mocks him, in the same manner that the religious elite do, “save yourself”. Jesus is essentially mocked for claiming to be the person that He is. The Truth is mocked for claiming to be Truth. 

The other sees his own sin. He makes no excuses, no rationalizing of his actions. He sees his own inability to save himself. He sees the stark Truth, that Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, is being killed unjustly. And he asks Jesus to remember him, to look with pity upon him. 

So the choice stands before us all. Will we acknowledge our sin, our crimes against a Holy and Righteous GOD or hurl insults at the Chosen One of God? There is none righteous, no not one. 

God have mercy on us. 

________________________

Luke 23: 32-43 (ESV) 
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.  And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.  And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”  The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine  and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”  There was also an inscription over him,“This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”  But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”  And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

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