Today is Thursday, June 22, 2017. Day 21,651.
“To be a book-collector is to combine the worst characteristics of a dope fiend with those of a miser.” ~ Robertson Davies, “The Table Talk of Samuel Marchbanks” Sadly, this is true. The feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when someone asks me to borrow one of my books . . .
The Quotations Page
The word of the day is apple-polish, a verb meaning, “to curry favor with someone, especially in an obsequious or flattering manner.”
It’s a tough call today, but I’m going with Onion Rings Day. The other choice was Chocolate Eclair Day. But it’s hard to beat some really good onion rings.
As a team, we didn’t do real great in bowling last night. At the risk of sounding boastful, I was the only one who hit average all three games, and I’m pretty sure that C was the only other team member who hit average at all. We were bowling with a team that was close to our ability level, except for one guy who had a 217 average. But two of their people bowled over average, last night, so they beat us all three games. The last game was closer, and that was the one C bowled her average in. But we had fun, anyway, and that’s why we’re there. I came very close to having the same score all three games. I bowled 168, 168, and 166, for a 502 series, averaging 167, which is six pins higher than my average.
The funeral for our sister in Christ will be Saturday afternoon at 1:30. The viewing is Friday evening, from 6-8. We have not yet decided if we will attend the viewing, but I think I would like to.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
(From The Divine Hours)
Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes.
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Jesus taught us, saying: Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
(From Practice Resurrection)
I stopped in the middle of a section yesterday, as time was becoming an issue. I believe I finished with a quote: “The practice of resurrection is an intentional, deliberate decision to believe and participate in resurrection life, life out of death, life that trumps death, life that is the last word, Jesus life.”
The practice of resurrection includes a number of components. “The worship of God in all the operations of the Trinity; the acceptance of a resurrection, born-from-above identity (in baptism);the embrace of resurrection formation by eating and drinking Christ’s resurrection body and blood (at the Lord’s Table); attentive reading of and obedience to the revelation of God in the Scriptures; prayer that cultivates an intimacy with realities that are inaccessible to our senses; confession and forgiveness of sins; welcoming the stranger and outcast; working and speaking for peace and justice, healing and truth, sanctity and beauty; care for all the stuff of creation.” I’m sure that more could be added to the list, but there is a correlation in this list to what I have consistently referred to as the Spiritual Disciplines.
We are joined in this practice of resurrection by people from all walks of life and all countries of the world. Note, also, that this practice is not an attack against this world of death; “it is a nonviolent embrace of life in the country of death.”
We must also note that we are not very good at this. “It is easy to dismiss the church as ineffective and irrelevant.” May people do this, and the number is increasing. It is also easy to have a condescending attitude toward the church, as many of us appear to be “unimpressive nonentities.” We become disillusioned with the church because expectations are not met, albeit those expectations are set by this “country of death and by the lies of the devil.”
So how do we maintain this practice of resurrection in the midst of all of this dissilusionment and disappointment?
That’s what this “conversation” is about. It is a serious conversation, and the life and effectiveness of the church depend on it. “We’ve been at this for two thousand years, and people are not clamoring to join us.” People are not looking at our community and asking, “How do I get in?” And we are not making a lot of progress in getting rid of the evil in the world. “So what’s left?” asks Peterson.
“What’s left is this: we look at what has been given to us in our Scriptures and in Jesus and try to understand why we have a church in the first place, what the church, as it is given to us, is. We are not a utopian community. We are not God’s avenging angels.” And maybe we need to step back and look and realize that “maybe God knows what he is doing, giving us church, this church.”
Father, help us to realize what church is, what it’s supposed to be. Help us to learn from this “conversation,” from this book of Ephesians. May we walk in the steps of Jesus Christ and be obedient to his words as we walk in this “country of death.” Help us to realize and exhibit life, resurrection life.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Grace and peace, friends.