The Truth that Dazzles Gradually

Today is Monday, July 3, 2017. Day 21,662. One day until Independence Day!

“Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless.” ~ Sinclair Lewis
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is sotto voce, an adverb, meaning, “in a low, soft voice so as not to be overheard.”

Today is Stay Out of the Sun Day. No problem here. I’m all over that one!

We had a wonderful day, yesterday. R came over for lunch (J wasn’t feeling well, so he did not come). We decided to try something different, so we drove up I-35 to a newer area, and tried a new Uncle Julio’s up there. It was okay. But just okay. Somewhat overpriced, in our opinion, and the food was only okay, not great. We won’t be going back there. But we had a great time, anyway.

After lunch, we decided to go bowling. So we stopped by the house and picked up our bowling balls and headed to Brunswick Zone in Watauga. We had an awesome time bowling! R surprised herself and bowled better than she expected. I didn’t do great, but I was “practicing,” messing around with delivery style and placement. C and I both get two free games a week, if we can find the time to bowl outside of league, and yesterday was the first day we had taken advantage of that.

We stopped at Sonic for drinks afterward, and then, after we got home, R headed on back to Denton. It was an awesome day!

Today, C and I are off work (as you can tell by the lateness of this post), and don’t really have any plans, other than heading to Southlake around 5:00 or so, for the band concert tonight. Tomorrow, we have no plans at all. And that’s the way, uhhuh uhhuh, I like it, uhhuh uhhuh!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD!
Psalm 113:1
Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind. 
For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. 
I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. 
I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked. 
I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O LORD, 
proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds. 

Psalm 26:2-7
All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you! 
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, 
to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Psalm 145:10-12
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! 
He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Psalm 126:5-6
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 
He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 
Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 
(This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

John 21:15-19

(From Practice Resurrection)

When the Church was created in the second chapter of Acts, the Holy Spirit could very well have formed her out of “talented men and women who hungered for the ‘beauty of holiness.'” But he didn’t do that. And if we compare the stories, we know that this is not the way the Spirit brought Jesus into the world. “Why would the Spirit change strategies in bringing the salvation community, the church, the congregation, into our lives?”

As Eugene Peterson continued studying the writings of Luke, he saw more and more parallels between the story of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke and the story of the church in the book of Acts. This enabled him to see the story “being lived and told in [his] congregation.” This came gradually, though, as he struggled to give up the image of the “beautiful Tirzah,” as well as the temptations of “adrenaline and ego satisfaction” in the “control of a religious business.” He quotes a line from poet Emily Dickinson: “the truth must dazzle gradually/Or every man be blind.”

Peterson realized that this was his place in the church, his work; to witness to this truth that dazzles gradually. He would proclaim the Holy Spirit’s formation of Church, of congregation out of this “mixed bag of humanity,” out of these broken people.

“Men at fifty who have failed a dozen times and know that they will never amount to anything.
Women who have been ignored and scorned and abused in a marriage in which they have been faithful.
People living with children and spouses deep in addictions.
Lepers and blind and deaf and dumb sinners.
Also fresh converts, excited to be in on this new life.
Spirited young people, energetic and eager to be guided into a life of love and compassion, mission and evangelism.
A few seasoned saints who know how to pray and listen and endure.
And a considerable number of people who pretty much just show up.
I wonder why they bother.
There they are.
The hot, the cold, and the lukewarm, Christians, half-Christians, almost Christians.
New-agers, angry ex-Catholics, sweet new converts.
I didn’t choose them.
I don’t get to choose them.”

And we don’t get to choose them. Just like our earthly, blood-born family. We can’t choose them, either. We don’t get to choose our family of faith, because everyone who calls the name of Jesus no matter how hot, cold, or lukewarm is part of this family. And our instructions, our orders from our commander, state that we are to love them as he loved us. Period.

We are all broken. And this is how we must live, how we must exist. I love the Church. I have always loved the Church, for as long as I can remember, and I will always love the Church. Because if you don’t love the Church, you don’t really love Jesus. And this is part of the truth that dazzles gradually.

Father, teach us this truth. I pray for the Church. For all of us broken people you have chosen to mush together in this unseemly group that will somehow succeed in glorifying you, in spite of ourselves. I praise you for your glory, and I pray for all of us together, that we might love each other as you have loved us.
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.

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