in the light
this VOTD is another reminder recently of a saying i've read/heard (can't remember where/by who) : "remember in the dark what you have learned in the light".
the VOTD also reminds me of the account of Silas & Paul in jail, singing praise to God, at the time when ... (read Acts 16 for what happened next). One of the best ways to explain something is by telling a story, probably one reason why Jesus told us so mamy parables.
I think of how English law is based mainly on "precedent" more than a legal code/formal written constitution, and what is "precedent" but "a collection of cases" (a bunch of stories)? I am not saying it's better than law in countries with legal codes / a constitution, just that the English+Welsh system uses a different approach to the universal challenge of "how do people decide on which secular laws to have for the max benefit of all in a plural society"? And early English law (at the time of King Alfred in Winchster in 10th century AD/CE) did have a code, which was based on The 10 Commandments. But law in England+Wales has evolved from there. Most law in most countries is man-made, and man-made things evolve (things created by God do not evolve). All man-made legal systems have their limitations (as man-made things do, their limitations require them to evolve). But God's perfect law has no need to evolve, it is perfect, so has no limitations. (a matter discussed at wonderful length in the Letter To The Romans, and in the Letter Of James).
I have been reminded also of a proverb seen in the house of my host family during an educational exchange overseas - there were christians in the family, there was joy in the house (bless them all), they touched me spiritually when i was a religion-phobic atheist, i remember it & the family decades later: in english it translates as "light-filled days - don't cry because they are ended. be joyful, because they have happened" (we are fortunate if certain days in the sun have happened at all, for some people they do not, not in the same joyful way).
its all about counting one's blessings, innit.
i have only overcome the episodes of depression that i have had by "counting my blessings" (you can count other peoples blessings in that because after reading 1Cor 12, we realise we are parts of each other, "if one part of the body has joy, other parts share it", so my blessing is your blessing, yours is mine. Strange symmetry. in building the church, at times the Master Carpenter makes dovetail joints, matches parts to their neighboring parts exquisitely, fitting & co-ordinating & balancing components together, sometimes in ways which skilled trades say are difficult & require much skill. But the work is beautiful to see, plus useful, and some dovetail. "does He who made the eye not see?" likewise, does he who made the dove not know how to do dovetail joints? Or know how useful they are? Does he who made carpenters & other trades not also know how to build?). He can indeed do far more than we ask.
Unlike certain other religions, we don't have to do much to gain enlightenment. God has already done all the work. We just have to stick around Jesus, and pay close attention (like it was usual for disciples to live with their Rabbi, they would go where he went, in those days). Obey Him, which means listen up to Him attentively like Martha's sister Mary did (the first recorded female disciple, being trained up by the most radical Rabbi). One way to obey is to ask him to make us wise, and to belive it's his will to do so today (and if he did not wish to give it, why would he say in His word that we could ask? He does not toy with us the way a cat plays with a mouse. Cat-on-mouse-cruelty comes from sin, one of the ways "creation is groaning" as a result of Adam's sin, but forgive the critturs too, cats also don't know what they are doing, when they follow instincts. And creation is also in the process of being redeemed, as a result of Christ's obedience & crucifixion & resurrection). He is true to us. Maybe if the wisdom we ask for comes slowly (or appears to tarry), that may be because He waits until we are ready to receive & use it (like the best teachers=Rabbis can assess how much their students=disciples can use at one go, and how much else has to wait till any given pupil is ready). "In your light we see light". "To those who have, even more will be given".
Unlike other religions that promise enlightenment (ones that promise relatively little & fail to deliver enough of even that), instead, being a follower of Jesus promises us something better (& does deliver, & delivers even more): Christ delivers a combination of "enlightenment+love"!
Because knowledge (on its own, without love) puffs up, but love builds up.
Patience is required, because enabling us to be gaining knowledge is only part of the work God does (e.g. He also goes on creating, & repairing things that are broken, as well). To do a thorough, utmost quality piece of "master-craftsmanship" (as we are His), don't be surprised if that harder bigger job of work takes longer. And wood, pottery, or a surgical patient under general anaesthetic, they all have no idea that a work of high skill is being done to them when it is being done, but in due course, we see "voila! the job is done".
Thanks for what the Lord has been doing/is doing/will do. It's His story. He is "the author & perfecter of our faith".
Thanks for his deeds. Praise to Him for what He is (which is even more than all mortal people put together know about, somehow).
There is more.
In the pipeline, on it's way, out of sight, but it happens, His way, His time. Because He is like that.
".... as we wait in joyful hope for our Savior to appear..." the blessing says, that is prayed in churches regularly. It will be Advent soon. A season when we not only remember how Jesus first came and dwelt among us in a human body, we also look forward to the second time, when He will return.
I'm reminded of "the Lord dwells in the praises of His people". The word "dwells" means something like "pitches his tent". He is always "there for us" somewhere, but can be more or less "near" at different times. He does'nt depend on our praises, He won't die or desert us without them. But when we praise Him, it pleases Him to pitch His tent nearer, in the midst. Draw closer to God & He will be closer to you. "Don't be a stranger" a Christian friend said "speaking the truth in love". That friend=another blessing to thank God for. The way to draw near to God is "by thanking & praising", that does not fail, because it is part of love, and "love never fails".
I'm looking forward to starting an Advent study. Are you looking forward in joyful hope to His return? There was a time when i felt a bit afraid to think about that aspect of Christianity. I didn't realise it, but that apprehension was a diagnostic sign, that i was harboring hidden sin in my heart (sin that i was denying was even there). Now "perfect love casts out fear" (1 John) and "if we deny that we sin, the truth is not in us", so the truth will out, and it happened that the way forward was to allow that sin to be brought to light, to admit it, to repent, to be forgiven. (A hard shocking & painful process at the time, but worth it. "No discipline is easy at the time.... but God disciplines those He loves". Discipline is a sign of His love. I must remember that more often). And the increasing awareness of "God's perfect love" that resulted has been casting out fear, i have the joyful hope now. If anyone reading wants more joyful hope & freedom from fear, just ask Him for that, wait patiently for His work to be done His way in His time, but He does deliver.
And the aim of all God's work (including discipline) is "to make us more like Christ". Wow. Amen.
Stay faithful in prayer. Friendship with "the world" is adultery towards God. We don't want to be His enemies by being adulterous. He is faithful. We (the church) is like "His bride, taken from His side". His hands & side were pierced for us on the cross. We don't want to give him that pain, all over again. We belong at His side.
Created 7 months ago