Devotional Thought fo the Day”
1 So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. 2 For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. 3 So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?
Hebrews 2:1-3 (NLT)
7 A day of salvation, of eternity, has come for us. Once again the call of the Divine Shepherd can be heard, those affectionate words: Vocavi te nomine tuo—I have called you by your name. Just like our mother, he calls us by our name, even by the name we were affectionately called at home. There, in the depths of our soul, he calls us and we just have to answer: Ecce ego quia vocasti me—here I am, for you have called me, and this time I’m determined not to let time flow by like water over rounded stones, leaving no trace behind. (1)
It is Monday morning, and the temptation is to simply outlast the day. To go through work and life on some kind of automatic pilot, to ignore the boredom, or monotony, to survive the stress and anxiety it causes.TO just moan about the impact of the time change and on top of it, the normal Monday grind. We can, to use the phrase from St Josemaria – just let Monday pass us by, without leaving any trace…
There is an option.
We can hear His voice. We can hear Him call our name, and transform our Monday into something greater, a journey with our friend, the Lord who loves us and cares for us. Hearing His voice, letting it resonate within us, makes Mondays (and everyday ) a time of awe, a time where His work leaves us breathless, as He transforms everything around us. On Mondays we have the opportunity to radiate His glory, to share in His mission, to realize as Jesus was sent by the Father, so He has sent us.
For while He has saved us for eternity, He has also sent us back into this world to help save it, as we journey through life with Him.
Why would it make sense to waste this? Do we value our life in CHirst so little that we would rather walk into the darkness without being by His side?
Or would we rather see this as another day for salvation, another chance to see the masterpieces God creates as He calls to others through us?
May we not neglect this day, and the Lord who calls to us in it!
(1)Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 257-262). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Discussion and Devotional Thought of the Day:
It is widely reported that there is sexual immorality among you, immorality of a kind that is not found even among gentiles: that one of you is living with his stepmother. 2 And you so filled with your own self-importance! It would have been better if you had been grieving bitterly, so that the man who has done this thing were turned out of the community. 3 For my part, however distant I am physically, I am present in spirit and have already condemned the man 4 who behaved in this way, just as though I were present in person. When you have gathered together in the name of our Lord Jesus, with the presence of my spirit, and in the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 hand such a man over to Satan, to be destroyed as far as natural life is concerned, so that on the Day of the Lord his spirit may be saved. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 (NJB)
5 If anyone did cause distress, he caused it not to me, but—not to exaggerate—in some degree to all of you. 6 The punishment already imposed by the majority was quite enough for such a person; 7 and now by contrast you should forgive and encourage him all the more, or he may be overwhelmed by the extent of his distress. 8 That is why I urge you to give your love towards him definite expression. 9 This was in fact my reason for writing, to test your quality and whether you are completely obedient. 10 But if you forgive anybody, then I too forgive that person; and whatever I have forgiven, if there is anything I have forgiven, I have done it for your sake in Christ’s presence, 11 to avoid being outwitted by Satan, whose scheming we know only too well. 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 (NJB)
This morning as I looked at facebook, I was a bit in shock at the response of some people to the election of the new leader of another denomination that shares the name Lutheran with my own. We are, in many ways radically different, but the mocking and deriding of their decision was sickening and to be blunt, sinful. Confronting sin, whether just perceived or actual, never justifies sinning in the confrontation of it. What is worse, Luther’s rants were used to justify their own mocking and ranting. Luther’s large catechism was also quoted, talking about the confrontation of sin. Here is the passage used to justify mocking and berating others:
All this has been said regarding secret sins. But where the sin is quite public so that the judge and everybody know it you can without any sin avoid him and let him go, because he has brought himself into disgrace, and you may also publicly testify concerning him. For when a matter is public in the light of day, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying; as, when we now reprove the Pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world. For where the sin is public, the reproof also must be public, that every one may learn to guard against it.- The Large Catechism of Martin Luther.
But this brings to mind – what is the reason we confront and challenge sin, or in this case – practices or others who are in Christ that we know/feel/believe are not in line with scripture? We may truly believe they are in sin, and we may be right. If so, the reading from 1st Corinthians above tells us actions we can and should take- but it also informs us of the reason – to save their soul. If we understand Luther’s Large Catechism, that is the sense there as well, and warning others of the danger they face in following that direction. But the purpose is never to mock sinners, the purpose is never to taunt or increase the division that may exist. It should never be done with joy, but rather with sorrow and with great pain. Love will never rejoice over sin – either in approving it, or in calling for repentance. Instead it desires to see the damage of sin broken, the bonds that it has shattered. It always looks for ways to embrace the cross – for the joy that is awaited when reconciliation occurs. That has to be our goal. Anything else… well it is our own sin which should drive us to that very same altar of grace.
The reason to confront sin determines how it is to be done, whether in accord for Matthew 18 privately, or in the case of “Public sin” The law must be applied with the intent that when repentance is granted – the love and comfort of grace is poured out without hesitation, without thought. Every sinner, including those who have the task of confronting sin themselves, need to be at the altar, at the foot of the cross. That is where it is supposed to occur. (Paul isn’t kidding about that in First Corinthians, its not just a expression) The same goes when we challenge each others practices, as we discuss. DIvision caused by sin is a grievous thing – not something that should gain us kudos and “likes” as we mock them publicly, as if we were perfect in our thoughts words and practices.
The goal is unity in Christ, unity found in His mercy, in His grace, in His forgiveness and love. It is to call all sinners to receive repentance and faith and to find joy in our relationship with God.
We cry, Lord have mercy… but we
need to remember we all need it!
- Why I don’t hate “religion”, because it is His One, holy, catholic/christian and apostolic church (justifiedandsinner.com)