“Since that day God has been at work toward the meaning of the creation… The kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, stands for a mended creation with people and things – a social, economic, ecological reality. Thus, Jesus’ miracles were not primarily signs of his power but acts of mending the creation, pushing back the frontier of Satan, healing minds and bodies, feeding, even counteracting the devastation of the premature death of the young and needy.”
Kister Stendahl, Meanings
“The nature of water is soft, the nature of stone is hard; but if a bottle is hung above a stone letting the water drip down, it wears away the stone. It is like that with the word of God; it is soft and our heart is hard; but if someone hears the word of God often, it will break open his heart to the fear of God.”
The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks, p. 191.
This evening, we have two qualities or actions of the Word of God instead of one, however how it ‘sustains’ and ‘shapes’ us go hand-in-hand.
There a variety of images that came to mind as I prepared for this evening. One selected is humorous and the other more serious, so we will start with the serious.
While in the final year of Seminary coursework prior to internship, I was also the dorm proctor. One day early in the academic year, a professor had let us “go free” for an hour to read an article and then return ready to discuss it. I was sitting at a local coffee shop, enjoying a coffee, and reading the article when a first year Seminary dorm-mate saw me. He inquired about the article I was reading, which was exploring the different visions of salvation, such as (1) who is saved, (2) how are we saved, and (3) how do we know. Then he asked for my opinion, I gave it to him, and he informed me that I was WRONG. After a few intense moments of discussion, I told him that he would not change my mind and we would have to agree to disagree. His response was to lean over the table between us and start pounding his fist on the table saying “NO! I CANNOT DO THAT”. I replied “I don’t know what to tell you”.
People understand the role of a pastor includes “saving” you, “sustaining” you spiritually, and to correct your misbehavior (sin) transforming each into righteous (Old Testament) law-abiding Christians. Well, I have news for you:
The last time I checked that was NOT within my job description. Read the rest of this entry »