Devotional Thoughts of the Day:
29 The LORD our God hasn’t explained the present or the future, but he has commanded us to obey the laws he gave to us and our descendants. Deuteronomy 29:29 (CEV)
29 Things hidden belong to Yahweh our God, but things revealed are ours and our children’s for ever, so that we can put all the words of this Law into practice.’ Deuteronomy 29:29 (NJB)
29 “The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions. Deuteronomy 29:29 (NLT2)
“For the true unity of the church it is enough to agree concerning the teaching of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments. It is not necessary that human traditions or rites and ceremonies, instituted by men, should be alike everywhere.”
Although very few of those who express their uneasiness have a clear picture of these interrelated factors, there is an instinctive grasp of the fact that liturgy cannot be the result of Church regulations, let alone professional erudition, but, to be true to itself, must be the fruit of the Church’s life and vitality.
I read the verse in red in the first translation this morning. It piqued my interest because I get frustrated when I cannot understand the things going on in life. That has been happening a lot recently.
So i started looking the passage up in other translations. Sometimes that helps, sometimes I have ot go a bit deeper than that. I use the NLT in our church, and the NJB is the first full Bible I ever owned. I like it just like people who grew up with the KJV are not comfortable with more modern translations.
Turns out I like all three, but the NJB resonates the most with me.
To paraphrase it, “what God has made a mystery, these things we cannot know. That is good. The things God has revealed to us, this is what is needed for us to live in the relationship He created with us…. (at the cross) For the Law is not just the commandments, but the entire covenant, the entire description of our relationship. It is the explanation of, “I am your God, and you are my people!’
That’s the message – that is the mystery that we can’t conceive of, but we need to know is true. We have to have that, far more than why we have to understand some of the evil things that happen in this world or even the odd and unexplainable things.
Even if we understood the present or the future, could we change it?
No. Not really. We might even be more frustrated than we are with things all in the dark.
But if we know of God’s presence, HIs promise, HIs love, that changes it all…. and we can His peace and comfort in that revelation.
And this is where the two quotes about liturgy come in, for the liturgy needs to communicate God’s presence, love, and mercy above all. It cannot be the same, for it has to address the place where people are at, the struggles they face, the despair they know, and to reveal to them that they can depend on God, that He wants them to do so!
That means the liturgy may look a little different here from there. It gives expression to God coming into the presence of His people and healing them of their brokenness. And liturgy comes out of that feeling., as the people respond to the merciful, comforting loving presence of God. That is why liturgy is fruit, proof of the vitality of a congregation, proof of the truth revealed to them. And it is why those who would use the liturgy to bind the church are not protecting the church, but severely damaging it. Damaging it far more than the changes they fear ever could.
Liturgy is the expression of the faith of those who enter into worship and must always remain so. For then it gives voice to what God has revealed, and where He has not, where we don’t get it, the liturgy will bring comfort and peace.
Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Cinnfessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 173–174.
Joseph Ratzinger, The Feast of Faith: Approaches to a Theology of the Liturgy, trans. Graham Harrison (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), 86–87.
Discussion and devotional thought of the day: Another interesting thing popped up at the end of my devotions this morning.
” Don’t expect people’s applause for your work. What is more, sometimes you mustn’t even expect other people and institutions, who like you are working for Christ, to understand you. Seek only the glory of God and, while loving everyone, don’t worry if there are some who don’t understand you.” (1)
I have to admit a problem with this one, not that I like applause, but rather that I like confirmation. A strong amen at the end of the sermon, a “like” or a “share” on one of my posts that has a special meaning to me. (as opposed to those where my sarcasm and cyncism rules) I want people to grasp how deep and wide and broad and high is God’s love for them in Christ, and they instead get the point about social action I want them to realize that we need to rid ourselves of idols, and they focus in on giving to others. I want them to realize the key to worship is realizing they are in the presence of God, and the use my writings to either attack or defend the worship flavor they prefer.
How frustrating it is when people don’t get it!
I need to step back at these points, to realize my blindness is as desperate as theirs, just on different issues.As maybe the depth of their trust and appreciation of God’s love. My job isn’t to stimulate their growth to be like me, but to help them focus on Jesus. To see His glory, not to admire my turn of the phrase.
As I’ve spent the last year reading the works of St Josemarie Escriva, I look back and see somethings that have resounded in my soul, and others well, I would try to argue with him about if he were around. Some I need to think through, some like today’s, well hit me between my eyes (see yday’s blog – you’ll see my point.
So maybe I will just write – and if it blesses you praise God, and if you don’t care for it, or don’t get it – That’s okay. The only thing you need to get is Jesus, -who will rescue you from your sin. (Not sure its a sin – it is…don’t think it is – check against scripture – it probably is) Let Him rescue you, let Him bring you to glory…
Know His love, revel in the relationship you have with His people in His presence….
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1068-1072). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.