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Quiet Time in Quarantine
Friday March 27, 2020
Good morning Charlottetown CRC. Waking to a beautiful snowfall ought to be a beautiful setting for some morning devotion. I pray that you're all doing well and relishing the time God has given to us with family and friends, and His church. Welcome home to many of you; glad to have you back on island from away. Hope that your trip back has been a good one. We are glad for your return and look forward to hugs and greetings once the occasion permits. In the meantime, we fellowship in the Spirit. Blessings on your day Charlottetown CRC.
Devotion: Together they make for an especially beautiful illustration of the Gospel. The Psalm is the same as yesterday, and so we should be a bit familiar with the theme of forgiveness already emerging in the there. It's more than just forgiveness for things done wrong; it's that even in the things done right we fall short. That whether in our 'righteousness and iniquity' or unrighteousness and wickedness', regardless we are doomed. "Repentance" isn't about deciding to do good; it's about coming to the realization that you can't do any good, or at least that your 'good, isn't good enough'; that the problem isn't about being better, the problem is one of newness; that in the Fall we are dead. Yes we still retain the image of God and can do 'good things', but that is hardly the point. The fact is we are dead and we need to live, and God freely offers it, has seen to life in His Son, who will take the place at the top of the human family tree; become the new Adam & renew the whole human family.
The Rev. reading gets at the heart of what sin has done; it has caused a rift not just in the world, but between heaven & earth. In the heavenly/spiritual perspective, Adam is the king who led a great rebellion against God. Whether or not he 'meant to' hardly matters; the consequences of sin are their being driven out of the Garden and immediate presence of God, East of Eden. The whole human epoch from thereon is one of making it so that God might come near and dwell with us in that same way as in the beginning once more. The Gospel results in a complete reuniting, a new wedding, of Heaven & Earth; an event that all Creation will attend & sing of in its own newness. What John of Patmos is announcing and depicting for us, is that that reign has already begin in Jesus. The king is on his throne; or as C.S.L. made it famous to say, 'Aslan is on the move!' He is already making all things new; we are awaiting the consummation.
Let that be or hope today, that is not about how good we are, but the fact that we are new in Christ, and that one day the renewal will be complete, and the whole world along with us. Amen
Quiet Times in Quarantine
Thursday March 26, 2020
Quiet Time in Quarantine
Wednesday March 25, 2020
Good morning C-town CRC!
How we doing this day in quarantine and isolation? I think on the whole our island is doing a great job, and our own church the same. I hear, and have been on the receiving end myself, of lots of virtual communication going on throughout our congregation. I for one am much appreciative of it; keep it coming! The spirit of the church is good and is really effective in maintaining the fellowship and the communion of the saints. I think God is doing good things in our midst, even though the times are a bit trying. But isn't that often how our God seems to work? that in the midst of hard things He leads us into real &l lasting joy, so that even the things temporal are rich as we learn to appreciate the eternal things through them?
Today is what's known in the church calendar as the Annunciation of the Lord. It's a very old tradition, and frankly would likely escape our notice if we weren't reading from the Common Lectionary Calendar of Readings right now; the calendar reads, 'Annunciation of the Lord!' so that folks like me can't miss it :) It seems like a Christmas sort of thing, as the reading is from Luke 1. But notice, today is the 25th of March. So, if you do the math the selection of Mar. 25 becomes fairly obvious, as one realizes it's precisely 9 months prior to Dec. 25 :) (Never mind the fact that Dec. 25 isn't actually Jesus' birthday, but we'll cover that come Advent late this year.) Anyway, that's how the day started back in the early Church to be known as Annunciation of the Lord, the announcement to Mary of the coming birth of her son, who would be The Son of the One and Only God. And it's fitting for Lent because as much of early Christian art was good to remind us, Jesus was born to die (cf. https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/walkinganancientpath/2018/12/07/pondering-the-nativity-through-iconography/)
I pray a good morning of devotion for you CCRC, that God reminds you of the joy of the Gospel, and that we might live in it, and encourage each other all the more.
Devotion: You'll notice a theme running through today's readings; they focus all on the announcement of the Messiah, the one true Servant of the Lord. Isaiah begins with an announcement to King Ahaz of 'a child who will be born as a sign'; it's the precursor to Gabriel's announcement to Mary (there's a huge story to Isa. 7, which we'll cover come Christmas/Advent); the birth of her son is Isa. 7's fulfillment; the true Immanuel, God with us.
The 45th Psalm sings and colors in quite romantic fashion of the kingly and husbandly nature of the Servant of God. He is mighty and heroic. He wins the bride (his Church) to himself; rescues her, and hosts an elaborate wedding celebration, complete with consummation. I'll spare you the details, but the the Psalm is a foreshadowing of Rev. 19, and 'the wedding supper of the Lamb'. The 40th Psalm is a song from the Servant's side, the heavenly groom, who is eager and ready to do from the heart all that God desires in reclaiming us; he is ready to make known the good news of the Gospel and accomplish it. He is the only one of whom it could be said that, 'he truly delights to do His will,' and that the 'law is truly within his heart.'
This is what the writer to the Hebrew church is explaining; that the Psalmists' words were spoken of Jesus, and they have been spoken by him, lived out by him.
And how fitting that they are echoed by Mary herself, the mother of our Lord. We rarely think of the gift that God gave Jesus in faithful parents. In both Joseph and Mary we get positive examples of faithfulness. The apple, as it turned out, doesn't drop far from the tree. We're good to remember that Jesus "grew in wisdom and stature" Lk. 2:52; that he was a real live boy who grew into a man. That his divinity was not confused with his humanity. That he really was the 2nd and better Adam/man, and was so on our behalf, to live out a life that did not fall short of glorifying God in any way (cf. Rom. 3:23).
Let us give thanks this morning to God, who has seen to all things in giving us Jesus, even to the point of giving him godly parents whose delight it was to be servants of God the Father. And let us give thanks this morning to Jesus, the True & Better Servant of the Lord, whose desire to do the will of God was truly the heart & desire of his whole being, and whose desire was for us, his Bride, the Church, who he redeems and dresses in white (Rev. 19:8).
Quiet Times in Quarantine
Tuesday March 24, 2020
Good morning Charlottetowntown CRC!
Quiet Time is Quarantine
Monday March 23, 2020
Good morning Charlottetown CRC, I hope that you all enjoyed a restful Sunday and that you were able to worship our God & King together in some fashion.
I've tried to provide here some resources for the week in hopes of keeping us connected to God and His word, and with one another. I hope to make this a daily offering.
Readings from the Lectionary (annual church calendar of scheduled daily readings): https://www.dailylectio.net/2020-03-23/reflecting-on-the-fourth-sunday-in-lent
Song of worship: Not in Me (thru YouTube, so you'll have to hit 'skip ads' after the guitar lesson ad they likely give you :) )
Devotional word: The Psalmist and Isaiah have so accurately described what we see put on display in Saul; that we are blind, foolish, walking after we-know-not-what in our fallenness; that we are prisoners to sin. And as prisoners, me imprison the world around us that unrighteous and injustice flow. "Justice", Isaiah confesses and observes, s"is far from us." But we are not without help. The Psalmists sees that God Himself will set the prisoners free, free from blindness and both the death that they are and the death they cause; "happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob!" Saul, after persecuting the early Church and Jesus, finds just these very things happen to him, blinded and "sat-still that he may know God" and His mercy in Jesus, befriended by Ananias, he is freed from his blindness, set free to declare the Good News throughout the then-known world, planting churches throughout the Roman Empire. Pray the Lord God do the same in us, in whatever empires we live, great and small; that He'd remove our blindness, show us His beauty, and walk instead in His forgiving justice & mercy.
Prayer: I find the Book of Common Prayer the best historical prayer prompt tool. Do what you like, but if you're looking for prayers scheduled to guide you in prayer throughout the year, you can't go wrong with the BoCP
Hope these prove helpful to you and your family today.
Love in Christ,