“Stirred but not Shaken”
Acts 2: 14a ,22-36
† Father, Son, and Holy Spirit †
May you realize the grace of of knowing the Triune God desires and works to know you, and make you perfect, perfect for a relationship
Anybody get the number of that creed?
Even though I dearly love the Athanasian Creed, even though I love how it lays out the relationship of the Trinity, even though I love spending a couple of hours with it, and highly recommend that to you, there is a certain feeling I get, reading it in a worship service.
Two ways to describe it…
The first is, I feel like Wiley E Coyote at the end of every scene in the old Roadrunner cartoons….
The other, I wonder if anyone got the license plate number of the theological 18 wheeler than just hit me. I almost wonder if Anthony of the Desert, who is credited with writing it, and Athanasius, a deacon who presented the creed to a gathering of pastors and bishops – comprehended the depth of the creed’s teaching….
Maybe it overwhelmed them a bit two… as if as they read it, they wondered who was driving the chariot that ran over them….
Even as I love this incredible Creed, as I love how it teaches us about the mystery of the Trinity – the Tri-une God, the Three yet One, I realize it has one shortcoming. It was written to challenge all the false teachings about the Trinity, and about the nature of Christ…it seeks to teach us to know about how the Trinity is, and how Jesus is both fully God and fully man…
But it assumes one thing…. That we know this Trinity, this Triune God.
It does a wonderful job stripping away many, if not most of the false teachings about Jesus… yet leaves us there… needing to get to know Him…
May this day, we rejoice, in not just knowing who God is not, but may we rejoice in knowing our Triune God…..
And as we grow in knowing the Trinity, this God of ours, may we be just the opposite of James Bond’s famous drink – may we be stirred, and know we cannot be shaken.
Still a little overwhelmed by the theological semi that ran over my brain, I’m going to do the sermon backward today – and give you the gospel, before the law…
Hear King David’s words again, really hear them….
‘I see that the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. 26 No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope. 27 For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. 28 You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’
The very God we proclaimed that we trusted a moment ago, David said is right before his eyes. As God is here, right in our midst. Here to protect, here to be our shepherd, here to be all that we need as our Father, as our Lord, as our God.
He is here…The Triune God who has been at work in our lives since we were created, is with us. He has called us together, He has brought us here, in order that we can know His love, that we can remember His mercy. The Holy Spirit drew us that we can literally taste and see that the Lord is good.
Walking with Him, on this way, which He has revealed, is what our lives are to be, and are, because of that presence of His. To know He is here, To realize that love which causes Him to cleanse us, to assure us that our souls will not fade into nothingness, even as Christ’s body was not meant to tor in the grave.
Paul explain this, in this way,
12 For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ through your faith in the active power of God, who raised him from death. 13 You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins; 14 he canceled the unfavorable record of our debts with its binding rules and did away with it completely by nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:12-14 (TEV)
That is what the presence of God in our lives means… it’s the time to rejoice in everything that has opened up to us. It is time for a party, for the feast – for the incredible life that God has given us…. And would live with us.
No wonder David says that His heart dances, it rejoices, (forget this line “glad” GRR) and his tongue SHOUTS his praises – the special shout reserved for the jubilee – that one time in life, everything you are shout!
He is here – He has given us life – He has given us the joy of His presence….
He is right beside me… and I shall not, will not, cannot be shaken…
That is where the Law comes in, this idea of being “shaken”. Being shaken is like being out in the middle of Lake Galilee with 80 mph winds raising waves much bigger than our fishing boats, or a spiritual earthquake. Those are the words that are used for those traumas, when life is so in turmoil that you cannot determine which way is which – not just east and west or north and south, but forward and back and upside down.
The Trinity’s presence in our lives takes care of that – for it completely changes our point of orientation. It is no longer us that is spinning out of control, even as the world is spinning – and in such a way that people have to realize God is with us.
As we do, as our lives, as our desires, as our dreams ocme into line with His, as we see that our redemption, our deliverance has been the Father’s goal all along, things change.
The law – which is the way in which God orders the universe, which we struggle with, is revealed to be what drives us to Him, looking for hope, looking for something which will cause the storm…
And when we are with God, Triune, majestic, beyond our ability to comprehend, at least during this life, we do find ourselves able to rest in hope, our heart finds that gladness, and we shout His praise, as we realize His desire is to be here – with us, His people.
It’s His plan…no, we are His plan..
It’s His plan, the reading calls it His pre-arranged plan…
Even to the point where Jesus was betrayed, and fixed to a cross, and murdered. As Peter preaches to the very ones who killed him,
That He could, for the people the Father created, pay the price of redemption, and pour out His Holy Spirit, that we would become His Holy and Righteous people…
Yeah – no wonder our hearts are glad…joyous – know His presence, having been shown the way of life – through the death of Christ.
May we indeed know His peace, as we wait, resting in the hope that comes from knowing He is beside us. May such knowledge stir us to love and good deeds, even as we trust, as we know we’ll never be shaken…
Devotional Thought of the day….
28:16 The eleven disciples went to the hill in Galilee where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him, even though some of them doubted. 18 Jesus drew near and said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20 and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20 (TEV)
“The moment you have anyone—whoever he may be—at your side, find a way, without doing anything strange, to pass on to him the joy you experience in being a son of God and living as such.” (1)
There are many things to think through, in the scene mentioned above, as having broken the power of death and shame, Jesus gives the disciples some last directions about the ministry He is sharing with them.
It is interesting to me that even in His presence, some doubted, for that gives me hope, when I struggle with this great work we have – and indeed, considering the last verse we have the answer. We are never far from our Triune God and His glory – even here in this “life”.
I love parts of the TEV translation here – especially when it uses “people” rather than nations. Nations distance the project, they make it seem larger than possible – to go into ALL the WORD and make disciples of ALL NATIONS. If we consider the task with those words, it is easy to become disappointed, disillusion – 7 billion people? But if we see that passage refering to going everywhere – and making disciples of people, the task becomes a matter of life, a matter of our vocation, not some task, but really, that which is part of every role, every vocation, everything we do in life.
That is why I love the simplicity of how a catholic priest named Josemarie Escriva (now canonized as a saint by the RCC) describes this work we call evangelism. Find a way, without doing anything strange to pass on the joy! What joy? Pass on the joy of being a son of God, and living as such!
There is a magnificent joy in realizing we have been freed to be God’s children, to live life with that kind of exuberance, with that kind of energy. To realize the burdens God has lifted from us, the anxiety we’ve been from – for a purpose – to walk with God. Think of that for a few moments as you eat your lunch today. And then, look around you, see those God has brought into your life – who live or work or are enjoying a game or eating, those people side by side. Simply share with them your joy, help them to see it is theirs as well.
For that is why we have been sent into the world, to reflect His love, His mercy, His light.
Lord, as we cry Lord have mercy, may we cry for those around us, and as we receive that mercy, may we share that with them as well.
(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 701-703). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional thought of the Day:
A Catholic priest once wrote:
“God is my Father! If you meditate on it, you will never let go of this consoling consideration. Jesus is my intimate Friend (another rediscovery) who loves me with all the divine madness of his Heart. The Holy Spirit is my Consoler, who guides my every step along the road. Consider this often: you are God’s… and God is yours” Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 237-242). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
It is a beneficial thing to contemplate on the trinity. From an Academic standpoint, the creeds, those incredible statements summarizing the work of the Trinity – they are great! Pretty good for contemplation as well, as we focus in on why we have confidence, why we trust in God, Father Son and Spirit. A lot of weight in these statements that we have had handed down to us!
Escriva’s words, taken in conjunction with those creeds reminds us that there is more to the Trinity than academic and theological insight. There is an intimacy with God, what some of the guys I work with reluctantly once, now playfully refer to the “r” word – the relationship. And that’s what Escriva’s words help us to remember – all those incredible things – all the creation, all the word redeeming us, all the work in making us holy, making us saints – proof that God is with us. The challenge, when we are talking about the Trinity, is to realize that They keep us in their conversation, that They are One, yet call us into that dance, that call us to share in that love, that dance with joy as the people that are called by Their name… realize that very truth.
Rejoice my friends, the Triune GOd loves you!