Devotional Discussion of the day:
In a few days, the strains of familiar music will fill your ears, if it hasn’t already. The sounds of Christmas (even though it is not advent.)
But as I plan out our special services, one chorus keeps resounding in my mind, echoing louder and louder, as it does as we sing it on Christmas Eve.
Venite Adoreum – Come! Adore Him! ( Or as we sing it, O Come let us Adore Him)
It brings a question to mind, how much of our music – whether traditional choir cantatas, or contemporary pieces spend time in adoration, in awe, in realizing that this isn’t just another holiday to be happy, but this in God. present, real, here. God coming in weakness yet fully in glory, God whom the angels in heaven cannot but praise, God whose reflection carried by angels causes incredible fear, (why else are their first words – Be not Afraid?)
Do we adore – with every fiber of our being – God in our midst? God incarnate? Do we pause to consider the enormity of this event, the blessedness? The beyond all imagination glory of a humble stable, a young lass, and her fiance, lookng down and knowing beyond all doubt..that this was God?
Maybe we don’t want to.. because if we do… we have to realize how much we need Him, desperately need Him.
Not just then…. not just on the cross…. but now.
Come my friends, let us adore Him!
Devotional thought of the day to be discussed.
This week in liturgical churches, we celebrate the Feast of St Michael and all Archangels. (Yes even in Lutheran Churches – check your pericope!)
Now, with the obvious disclaimer that we do not worship these beings, we can and do interact with them. Jesus talks about children having such angels in heaven, and we see one in action in the life of the prophet Daniel, and in the life of Moses. One such discussion is noted in the Epistle of Jude:
1:8 In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. 9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) Jude 1:8-9 (NLT)
Herein lies a great challenge for us, for whether it be spiritual battle, or dealing with those that antagonize or berate us, we want to strike back accordingly. We want to take justice into our own very creative hands, and trash those who hurt us, or more often, hurt others. In doing so, we engage our own falseness, we do so in our weakness, we do so in a way, that is sure to find us defeated, demoralized, bitter, broken. Or we come back that way, but disguised with a sense of triumphant joy. “We showed them”, “we pounded them into the ground”, “Got’em!” we cry, and we fail to see that both they and we are bleeding from the fight. There is no winner, just more division, more pain, and another battle to fight another day.
Michael the Archangel fought Lucifer in a different manner. He didn’t go head to head – could he have? Perhaps, but we will find that angels primary vocation is not to do battle. We love to picture them, either as weak cherubs at valentines day – piercing hearts with arrows to cause love. (Interesting thought there -change the love from erotic to agape – that’s how the Holy Spirit works) or a valiant towering warriors with swords laced with purifying fire. But scripture primarily talks of them in two ways. One – bringing a message to God’s people. Secondly, and this is really their place – before the throne of God. leading the hosts of heaven, with the 24 elders, adoringly declaring the praise of God.
So Michael, who like us was designed not for battle, but for worship and fellowship, keeps it simple. “The Lord correct you!” and the battle is over.
When we put justice into His hands.. the outcome of spiritual battles is assured. Christ’s power simply overwhelms Satan’s, because Christ’s power is life, not death. It is reconciliation of God’s people with God and each other, not division. FOr someone used to living in the presence of God, the battle is simply a matter of turning it over to our Lord, who died on the cross, that no other need die, that no other need be broken. It is when we realize this, that gathering together becomes more than a country club like gathering .
But to get to that place, means we have to let Christ deal with our own “demons”. To break the power of sin and satan over us, for believers, to realize that is what happens in the sacraments, in baptism, as we feast, as we confess and are absolved. Josemarie Escriva wrote well,
“You, who see yourself so badly lacking in virtues, in talents, in abilities… Do you not feel the desire to cry out like the blind Bartimaeus, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”? What a beautiful aspiration for you to say very often, “Lord, have pity on me!” He will hear you and come to your aid.” Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 882-886). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
If we need to deal with our own pain which oppresses us, if our “personal demons” (which usually aren’t demons in the way we picture them) need to be dealt with, the cry of Kyrie Eleison, Lord have mercy, will see those “demons” rebuked and their hold broken, and our souls and heart and minds and bodies – freed to worship. It is a prayer that God always answers, for the promise and fulfillment of the prayer is what the cross is always about.
So Lord, have mercy on us, rebuke that which oppresses us, help us live as Your body, your people. AMEN