We have met the enemy… in our mirror

23 May


“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.  8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” (Prov. 3:5-8)

NET: (5) “trust” is used in the OT in (1) literally: to physically lean upon something for support and (2) figuratively: to rely upon someone or something for help or protection. Here we can trust in the LORD with confidence.  (6) The sage is calling us to a life in which we see the LORD in every event and rely on him.        (7) NLT “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.” There is a higher source of wisdom than human insight. (8) If a person trusts in the LORD and fears him, God will bless him. Just as a drink of water would bring physical refreshment, trusting in God and turning away from evil will bring emotional refreshment–and health–to one’s soul and “bones”, or entire body.

Lord Jesus, we place all our trust and confidence and hope in you.  We know your words are true, your promises are reliable: you are our fortress for protection.  Help us–today, this very instant–to respond to your love by committing to love others as you love us.  May your leading take us down your path of challenge and excitement and wonder. And when today is over, may we smile and realize, “Wow! This was a day to never be forgotten!”  Amen.

In one of the late Walt Kelly’s most famous comic strips, Pogo laments…


I (Steve) express a similar lament when considering our PC (USA) churches.  I am saddened to see churches continue to leave our denomination, and our own Presbytery.  It is difficult to see people and churches give up.  It is hard to see relationships end (despite well-intentioned, but probably unrealistic, talk of how “we can still do ministry together.”)

I lament an assertion that, “Yes, we are all sinners, but their sins are worse than ours.”

I lament hearing, “I just can’t be a Christian here.”

I lament a view that implies, “The ‘grass is greener’ over there.”

I lament hearing, “We need to be with like-minded people.”

I lament a woefully curious, “Who cares?  Women should not be in church leadership.”

I lament the hopeless disgust in, “There’s nothing more to talk about.”

Jesus, on the night of his arrest, prayed to his Father for unity: that believers would share the same–not similar, the same–unity as that between Jesus and his Father, between God the Son and God the Father.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.   I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
(John 17:20-23)

How strange is our division, and our distrust of each other, in the name of…? In the name of what?  In the name of Jesus’ Gospel?

How strange are our priorities, as we distinguish and distance ourselves from other believers, and other churches, and other Presbyteries–at least in part–by prioritizing sins, and labeling those of others as more detestable and onerous than our own.

When people know they are dying, they share what is most important. Unlike what many might assume, those ebbing moments are not filled with thoughts of wealth, or accomplishments, but of thoughts and memories of family.

And Jesus, knowing he would soon begin his long walk to Golgotha, prayed about his family of disciples: his heart of love for them, and for their protection.

What is it for which we pray during these disquieting days?

The preservation and purity of the church?  We cannot preserve the Church; only Christ can.

Purity?  Yes, as officers, we “promise to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church”.   And both the Old and New Testaments speak of devotion and purity of heart for God.

Holy Spirit, we pray that you would sweep through our hearts and minds powerfully with your fresh and renewing Wind of Hope and Love and Unity.  Help us always remember our first allegiance is not to our churches, not to our churches’ mission, but to our Triune God, the Creator of all.   Amen.

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